Monday, August 17, 2015

2015 Choir Repertoire

I spent a fair amount of time last Spring working on choosing repertoire for this school year.

Some considerations:

  • We got about 100% bigger this year (up to 64 signed up as of today).  There will be many new voices, but also many veterans.
  • We can do some "big" choir pieces.
  • I am mostly SSA (7 freshman boys).
  • We are traveling this year without accompanist so we need to focus on acapella
  • I am working hard to split main choir with the more elite/acapella group (Chorale).  All Chorale members are in the main choir.
  • I have not chosen any of the pop/fun/new pieces.
  • I want to make an effort to rotate parts.
  • We will do a combined concert with our middle school.
  • We also learn four Italian songs (SATB) for auditions, do lots of Broadway ...but no play this year :((  
  • Chorale does mostly Pop acapella but I'm trying to add a few reach tunes this year.

1. Wanting Memories (Barnwell):

I make an effort to feature women's groups and composers.  The group Sweet Honey in the Rock and the composer Ysaye Barnwell are certainly worthy of that effort.  The piece Wanting Memories features a fairly easy ostinato for our young tenors/basses and fairly easy harmony for upper voices.  I hope to use this song as a vehicle for vowel work. 

2. Shine on Me (Dillworth)

I have done this song before and it is an easy gospel SAB tune that introduces 9/8 time signature really well.  It does not get too high and might be a good song to do with the middle school.  Also great for vowel work (SH--AHHHH-E-N).

3. Alleluia (Thompson)

I did this in 2010 with a much smaller group.  They had great ears and we were pretty accurate, but this really requires a bigger group.  I hesitate to feature because it is for SATB (converted to SSAA) but I know Thompson did the arranging.  This song is ALL vowels (sense a trend).  I hope to use this to work on introducing chordal movements, cadences, and the like.  This will be our big piece for the year.

4. Tres Cantos Nativos

A favorite of the festival choir crowd I have never had a big enough group to do this.  It is harder than it looks and we are doing this for fun.  Requires some language work and a lot of CONSONANTS sounding together.

5. Elijah Rock (Hairston)

I have done this 3 times before.  Again, affords our young basses an ostinato part and is a great introduction to gospel tunes.  Very front of face consonants and vowels in addition to lots of rhythmic reading and dynamics.

6. Zion's Walls (Copland)

I'm doing SSA version.  Good opportunity to sing a song from American master and do a lot of historical work.  This song is hard and will require a lot of work.  Diction is a bear in this song.  T's and Z's.


1. Jack's Valentine  (Larsen)

Again, trying to feature women composers.  This song is "silly" but super hard and would be perfect for the smaller group if they are willing to take on the challenge.  Dynamics, and some really tough pitch clusters are involved.

2. Sisters (Walker)

One more woman as a composer (hopefully, you sense a trend).  We did this in choir last year and didn't quite have time to pull it off.  Lots of rhythm and movement and historical work.  Vowels are really big.

3. Silver Buckle on Mozart's Shoe (Boerger)

A new song by Kristina Boerger.  I anticipate playing trombone as the accompaniment which could be fun AND have a student conductor.  This song is longer than what we are used to and requires a touch and accuracy that is deceiving.

Anyway, those are the big tunes.  Many will be added!!