To date, I have made 38 choir pieces available on my website (with many more to come). I recognize that most conductors do not have the time to visit, peruse, and listen to every piece on my website. So I have decided to recommend six of these pieces for conductor’s special consideration.
The recommendations are for Elementary Children’s Choir, Advanced SATB, Church Choir, SATB, SSAA, and TTBB Chorus.
*Composer’s Choice #1: “Swing Low,” arranged for Elementary Children’s Choir and Piano*
For more details and a full perusal score (printable for further review) click here: Swing Low
I conducted this piece with my combined Elementary Children’s Choir and it was super loved by the students and well received by listeners. I think the piece maintains the dignity of the Spiritual while still being very fun. This piece is ideal for singers age 7-11.
*Composer’s Choice #2: “Are You Ready?” for Advanced SATB unaccompanied*
For more details and a full perusal score (printable for further review) click here: Are You Ready?
This original Spiritual fits in a program as an excellent closer or a climactic piece that energizes audiences. Though very exciting, I think it avoids becoming showy, rather maintaining its spirituality. It is intended to portray the feel of a camp meeting revival.
*Composer’s Choice #3: “Lord Have Mercy” for SATB Church Choir unaccompanied*
For more details and a full perusal score (printable for further review) click here: Lord Have Mercy
This piece was written to be used in the church service. It is a choral prayer that can be used as a choral response to a sermon, prayer, or even as a short anthem (about 1’45”).
*Composer’s Choice #4: “Set Me As Seal” for SATB unaccompanied*
For more details and a full perusal score (printable for further review) click here: Set Me As A Seal
This setting of the famous Song of Songs sacred love text fits in many performance scenarios. When writing this piece, I envisioned a chamber or medium sized chorus that sang with careful attention to choral balance and precise intonation (as opposed to a lovely grand sound with fuller vibrato). When sung this way, with excellent dynamic build up, I think the middle section featuring the words “many waters cannot quench love” and “neither can the floods drown it” would be profoundly moving as one hears the the swell and subsiding of the proverbial waters. This is immediately followed by a simple duet of two soloists on the original tune, the contrast of which is lost in the wonderful demo recording done by Matt Curtis (one voice, however skilled, can’t create the intended contrast of 30+ voices and two voices). I think this piece could be a capstone “heart” piece in many concerts.
*Composer’s Choice #5: “Magnificat” for SSAA unaccompanied*
For more details and a full perusal score (printable for further review) click here: Magnificat
This Magnificat setting renders the biblical words of Mary in English. It is elegant, declamatory, sweet, reverent, and beautiful. Rather than making a grandiose musical spectacle as many “Magnificat” settings have aimed to do (and often quite beautifully), I aimed this piece to capture the wonder, simplicity, and sacredness of the moment shared by Mary and her aunt Elizabeth when she first spoke the words. This piece is the only SSAA piece from a larger SATB work depicting the life of Jesus.
*Composer’s Choice #6: “Soon One Day” for TTBB unaccompanied (SATB also available)*
A bit of history: I wrote “Soon One Day” for SATB choir in 2010. The TTBB version was commissioned a couple of years later by the Naperville Men’s Glee club for their 25th anniversary concert. The SATB version of the piece was later featured (two different times) on choralnet.org, and then both versions were featured by ACDA Minnesota in their publication Star of the North (Spring, 2015) in a repertoire write-up by R&S Chairs titled “Pick Six.”
“Soon One Day” is a thrilling Second Coming Spiritual that contrasts trials of life with the hope of the better life when Jesus comes. It builds slowly, but relentlessly, until it reaches a climactic, but stormy section proclaiming “hold on to Jesus.” This has been my most decorated and one of my most loved pieces by singers, conductors, and listeners. It is not a short piece, but is a moving and powerful addition to a choral program.
I hope these recommendations are helpful and useful!