- July 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm #538713
I have been asked to consider doing a community Christmas concert this year and am looking for repertoire ideas. The choir will be made up of choir members from the local churches and as I am relatively new to the area and do not know much about the choirs/music programs of the other churches I suspect that going for relatively simple SAB music would be wise. Also, with most church choirs doing very little secular Christmas music, I thought something along the lines of Many Moods of Christmas might be a sure choir and crowd pleaser. Any suggestions would be great.
Thanks!July 8, 2017 at 8:50 am #538729
Michael A. GrayParticipant
Seasons and moods of Christmas:
Schein’s “Nun kimm der heiden heiland” and Monteverdi’s “Angelus ad pastores ait” are very rewarding but hard to find in SAB versions. My records show that Regney’s “Do you hear what I hear?” exists in an SAB arrangement. While it’s only two parts, Sleeth’s “Christmas is a feeling” is a wonderful piece and works with mixed ensembles with some creative assignments to the parts.
While you are at it, please take a second to look at my SAB arrangement of “God rest ye merry, gentlemen.” It’s available for free download at http://www.graymichael.com
Hope that helps!
Michael A. GrayJuly 8, 2017 at 8:51 am #538735
Michael J. SeredickParticipant
Robert Shaw made a fabulous recording titled “The Many Moods Of Christmas” years ago. It is still in my library, and one of my favorites. You could possibly find it as a CD at your local library, or on google. It has wonderful Christmas Music and would give ideas for repertoire.
SAB arrangements of worth, in my opinion, are mostly worthless, especially for the situation you describe. You don’t know how each director prepares the visiting choir. Some will be well-rehearsed, others not. With that in mind, consider creative use of unison and two part music as well as simple SATB. For example, a verse of a favorite Carol sung in unison by all female voices, followed by a refrain in four-parts would be a good approach. Next verse, have the men in unison, followed by four-part refrain. Reuse notation already learned. The list is endless, but examples include We Three Kings – The First Noel – Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Audiences love familiar Carols and don’t care if it is out of the hymnal or an Augsburg arrangement.
Variety is also a key to an enjoyable concert. Consider involving the congregation on a few verses. They’ll love being involved. There are many World Music examples in unison, accompanied by single, or multiple instruments. Your creativity, communication with the other choir directors, and focus on quality rather that quantity will help relieve stress for all involved. Consider choosing familiar Carols along with unfamiliar Christmas Repertoire to round out the program.
Finally, consider the range of two-part arrangements rather than SAB. I’d rather hear a verse in two-part SA followed by the next verse in TB than struggling with inappropriate ranges in common SAB settings. Again, on the variety point, consider a solo verse between the Men and Women. How about a solo verse from each choir participating at the Community Concert? It wouldn’t have to be on the same piece, but somewhere in the program to give the audience an idea of talent (or lack of) within each choir.
I haven’t offered specific pieces, but hope my general suggestions are somewhat helpful. Best wishes!July 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm #538738
This is the time of year I write new music for our spectacular Christmas program. I tend to agree with the others regarding three parts. When we sing Brooklyn Tabernacle arrangements with three parts, I always have to write in Bass parts. So I would recommend singing four parts.
I publish my arrangements at Sheetmusicplus digital downloads. So if you,find something there that you like, you only have to purchase six copies and you can make the amount you want.
My Go Tell it On the Mountain arrangement is fun,
I will also write a special arrangement for your Christmas program. Just let me know what you might like.
firstname.lastname@example.orgJuly 8, 2017 at 2:26 pm #538743
This is an easy, simple carol that the congregation could pick up after a couple of verses:
The score is free to raise funds for refugees (e.g. take a collection or make a donation) at hutchingsmusic.co.uk/choirsagainstracism.
I also have a wide variety of other Christmas works, including an SABar arrangement of “Good King Wenceslas”: http://notenova.com/catalog/work/good-king-wenceslas/July 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm #538979
Here’s a suggestion —
“A Christmas Round” sets the words ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace to all people on earth’ in English, Latin, Greek, French, Arabic and Hebrew. The music works as a round in four parts, and the traditional melody of ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ also appears at the end. It’s not too difficult, and could be performed effectively by all singers of ages and abilities.
A CHRISTMAS ROUND online recordings
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