High School Choirs
Josh Nannestad, High School R&S Chair
Greetings to the 20 or so high school conductors who I met at the 2012 MassACDA Summer Conference! We had a productive discussion of ways that we might use the website to better share repertoire ideas. I will work on making a template so that colleagues can easily list the repertoire they are teaching, with tags to help us sort and search the responses. We will also try to establish library lists (to facilitate lending) and other avenues for sharing resources (tour company reviews is one area of need).
In the meantime, here is the repertoire list for the High School reading session I presented at MMEA in March 2012, in case you missed it. Anyone else who wishes to contribute something, please send me an email!
- A mildly exotic concert opener. Stephen Leek “Tunggare.” Single word text which means “voice” or “to sing”. alternatives: Leek “Ngana”, Grandage “Three Australian Bush Songs” Orlovich “Tides of Ocean”. (All published by Morton Music.)
- Easy classical excerpt: Joseph Haydn “Gloria” from Heiligmesse.
- SAB works by the masters: Salamone Rossi “Barechu” and W.A. Mozart “Notturni” (cpdl)
- A secular work in gospel style: Rollo Dilworth “Everlasting Melody” available in 2-Part, 3-Part, and SATB. alternative: John Leavitt “River in Judea”
- Great poetry in praise of music: David L. Brunner “I Am in Need of Music”
- Familiar tune with a different text: arranged Alice Parker “My Gentle Harp” Second verse features melody in the alto – good for them and the sopranos! While Alice Parker hardly needs an introduction, her sturdy arrangements (along with Robert Shaw) should be the backbone of a good school choral library. alternatives: “Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier”, “The Drunken Sailor”, “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal”, “Saints Bound for Heaven”, many more. (published Lawson-Gould)
- Men’s voices: arranged Robert DeCormier “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder” Powerful work with supplemental percussion and movement. alternative: young composer Timothy Takach is gathering commissions to focus on the younger adolescent male voice. timothyctakach.com
- Women’s voices: Vijay Singh “Johnny Said No!” playful, folksong-like, full of canon and rhythmic interest, good antidote to much of the women’s literature. alternative: “Nine Hundred Miles” arr. Phillip Silvey, a song of powerful longing and rich tone colors.
- A 5-part canon: Abbie Burt Betinis “Be Like the Bird” The minor key and interval sequences are both beautiful and helpful for ear training.
- Robert Frost poetry, but not by Randall Thompson: Z. Randall Stroope “The Pasture” Subtleties of phrasing and unison intonation.
- For the advanced choir: Paul Carey Play With Your Food. “Summer’s Bounty” features multiple mixed meters, playful text repetition, and a marking of molto schmalzando.
- A secular piece of remembrance: Eleanor Daley “In Remembrance” Gorgeous tonal colors and singing lines.
- American songbook, not too challenging: arranged Jay Althouse “Embraceable You” American musical heritage… on the rise with the proliferation of singing talent shows. This arrangement introduces simple jazz harmonies and a nicely written piano part. available for SAB, SSAA, and TTBB.
- A new piece for graduation? Guthrie/Gutkin/Brumfield “From Here on In” Woody Guthrie, born in 1912, left more than a thousand texts that he never got around to setting. The Mermaid Avenue Sessions by Billy Bragg and Wilco filled two albums in 1998 and 2000. More recently, the klezmer/crossover group The Klezmatics similarly wrote their own music to Guthrie texts, and this tune was arranged by Susan Brumfield. For solo plus SATB, it is easily adaptable to multiple choirs or small groups. Divisi is mostly simple, folk-style doubling.