Assembled by Greg Dennis, Mount Horeb H.S.
- Kevin Meidl, Appleton West H.S.
Abendlied zu Gott, F.J. Haydn, Theodore Presser 352-00220, SATB w/piano
Ranges are generally good for high school aged choirs, as the sopranos venture above the staff only twice. The tenor and bass sections need to match the female sections in strenght and ability, while neither is called upon to spend undo amounts of time in the mid to high register. This work is present for any class A high school choir and is a true melodic treasure.
- Linda Meier, DeForest H.S.
Cantate Domino, Hans Leo Hassler, ed. Walter Ehret, Southern 1057-11
Written during the Renaissance, the polyphonic line is wonderfully woven into each voice in a singable range. The legato style and the independence of voice results in a flowing line and easy modulations. It also features a short SSA trio section within the piece that women will love. Be sure to use the Latin text as it lends itself much better to the voice line. You can do an incredible amount of teaching with this piece: discussion of the Renaissance period and style of singing; breath support of long, legato lines; independent voicing, basic Latin text, scale and chordal tuning, and the list goes on....
- Verbum Caro Factum Est, Hans Leo Hassler, G. Schirmer HL50318540, 6-part
This piece sings as a double choir (women-choir I; men-choir II), but can be sung by much smaller groups. The middle male voice can be sung by tenor II's or baritones--depending upon the timbre you desire or the number of men in your choir. The choirs sing in homophonic style answering each other and uniting at cadences with full rich chords. Each line is independent enough to be easily learned yet interesting enough to provide the singer with both technical and aesthetic challenge. Again, the Latin text must be used to "fit" the musical phrase. A beautiful and powerful musical message from John 1:14.
- Helene Ader, Merrill H.S., retired
Domine ad Adjuvandum me Festina, Padre G.B. Martini, Concordia #97-6304
For Mixed Chorus, solo voices, organ, or piano. Orchestral parts available. "Rick Bjella introduced this piece to us at a Lawrence Viking Festival. This was at the top of the list of selections most often requested by my students. they loved the rhythmic intensity of the piece, solo opportunities and the challenge of the Amen in fugue style. Requires a competent accompanist.
- Jim Miller, Lincoln H.S., Manitowoc
How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place from A German Requiem, Johannes Brahms, ed. Harry Wilson, Colombo. Also, G. Schirmer 50295550
"I have often told my studnets that if they can tell who my favorite composer is, then I probably am not doing a very good job of teaching. However, I can tell you! I love the soaring lines, the many climaxes and the dynamics of the song. Call me a hopeless romantic if you wish, but I say it with no shame.
- Diane Dangerfield, Fennimore H.S.
I Will Greatly Rejoice, Knut Nystedt, Hinshaw HMC226. SATB divisi a cappella
I was introduced to this piece by Karle Erickson at the State Honors Choir, and have since used it annually with my church choir. It is challenging with respect to meter and harmony. The continually changing meter enhances the message as it encourages the singer to stress appropriate syllables within words and words within phrases. The often dissonant harmony also enhances the text and provides lush, beautiful color.
- Mary Schmidt, Sun Prairie H.S.
I Love my Love, Gustav Holst, G. Schirmer 50299220
"This folk song arrangement by Gustav Holst is a perennial favorite with my students and with me! The haunting Dorian melody is shared by the sopranos, tenors, and even (briefly) the basses. The story is about as good as it gets and never fails to reach every young singer and the audience. Holst treats each of the many verses with care, and it never sounds like your typical strophic folk song. Make sure to play the Holst Second Suite for Band (second mvt.) to hear the piece without words. This selection is also a great CMP piece--there are so many things to teach in it. If you don't have it in your library, order it now--it's among the very best!
- Valiant-for-Truth, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Oxford 353529-7
This allegory from John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" is masterfully set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Truth takes on human characteristics and passes his legacy on to his followers at his death. The piece is very sectional, with many seams and some initially challenging transitions. However, the investment you and your singers make in it will pay off quickly when they grasp this very substantial piece of choral literature. The message that truth never really dies is an important one for young people. I love this piece with all my heart, and students never fail to appreciate its beauty and its deep meaning.
- Mike Cisler, Valders H.S.
John Henry, arr. John Miller, Hinshaw HPC7071. Optional for flute, oboe, 2 horns, strings
I first used this piece when I was doing a concert of folk music. It is a fairly difficult arrangement with a piano accompaniment that is challenging only because of the tempo. The ranges are not extreme, however the parts do divide into 3 part men and women at times. It is a rhythmically challenging piece that my kids enjoyed performing.
- Bob Schrank, Janesville Craig H.S.
The Lord is my Shepherd from Requiem, John Rutter, Oxford 385629-9
This piece is available separately from the complete Requiem. My choirs have performed the complete Requiem on two different occasions and it was thoroughly enjoyed by the students as well as myself. Specifically, this movement combines a lovely melody with many effective meter changes. The harmonies are mostly consonant and build to a very dramatic climax. The vocal ranges are well within the abilities of high school singers with some limited 3-part division in the male voices. There is also a haunting oboe solo that weaves it's way through the piece and helps to set this song apart from the ordinary. I truly believe that this is a must for all high school choral libraries.
- Jim Heiks, Appleton North H.S.
Sigagagala (Let there be ululation), Luo Spiritual, arr. S.A. Otieno, earthsongs S-63
This African spiritual may at first sight seem to have impossibly difficult rhythms, but after the initial read through, the rhythmic patterns fall into recognizable repeated sections, making it a fun, singable piece. The Luo text sounds like it looks, making it also accessible. What sets this piece apart from others, however, are two very choral, lyrical slow sections set between the wildly energetic rhythmic sections. Conga drum and African double bells provide the accompaniment.
- Micki Carlson, Suring H.S.
Song of Triumph, Dale Grotenhuis, Boosey & Hawkes 6215
When I first heard "Song of Triumph", I knew it was a song which would remain in my heart. This song has it all. It begins with a powerful A section which continues to build. The B section is a wonderful chorale in eight parts. The A section returns in short form for a very dramatic ending. The text is Revelation 15:3-4. This piece works really well with a large choir. Our performance of "Song of Triumph" was a musical highlight in my life and will be remembered by my students for years to come.
- Rebecca Winnie, Mequon Homestead H.S.
Take Me to the Water (Collection of 13 pieces), arr. Alice Parker, GIA
Alice Parker is known for her many outstanding arrangements and compositions, but perhaps not everyone knows her new set of spirituals, published in 1995. I have programmed four of these new arrangements over the past three years and found them all to be a delightful addition to the choral repertoire. Ward-Brodt Music Mall has graciously agreed to have the entire collection as well as the Alice Parker and Melodious Accord recording of all 13 arrangements at the exhibit booth for the 1999 WCDA convention, so you can take a look at these fine new spirituals.
- I Know the Lord G4229
- Stayed On Jesus G4330
- Come on Up (SSA) G4231
- Don't be Weary, Traveler G4232
- Hush G4233
- He is King of Kings G4234
- Let Us Break Bread G4235
- Is There Anybody Here G4236
- Free at Last (TTB) G4237
- Take Me to the Water G4238
- Cert'nly Lord G4239 Witness G4240
- We Will March Thro' the Valley G4242