2015 Reading Session Picks

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We had a great time at Lake Junaluska a few weeks ago for Music and Worship Arts Week! One of my favorite things about this conference is all the music we get to hear, read, and sing through, from choir performances to reading sessions to combing the pop-up music store.

Like last year, I thought it might be fun (and helpful!) to share a few of my favorite new finds from this year's reading sessions. Some of these are new titles, others are just new to me, but regardless, if you haven't heard these pieces, you're in for a real treat! SD and I are pretty careful with what we choose to keep and leave behind, and these are our favorites of the stack we brought home with us.

Enjoy!

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (arr. Lloyd Larson)
SATB Choir and Solo, a cappella

A really lovely, quiet setting of this well-known text. Works well with Psalms 23 and 103 scriptural texts.

Love Came Down at Christmas (Allen Pote)
SAB Choir with Keyboard and optional Handbells and C Instrument

I love this text and this is a really nice, accessible setting by Allen Pote. Would be gorgeous with the optional instrumentation!

Ubi Caritas (Victor C. Johnson)
Three-Part Mixed Choir with Piano

A great way to introduce Latin text to your choir! Accessible setting of a traditional text, and three-part mixed means you can do it with a smaller group (summer, anyone?) or with a youth choir. The text translation reads:

"Where there is charity and love, God is there. The love of Christ has gathered us together. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. And from a sincere heart let us love one another."

Silent Night (arr. Peter Anglea)
SATB Choir with Piano

Gorgeous (new) melody and accompaniment for this traditional Christmas text. Stunning!

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (arr. Matthew Culloton)
SATB Choir, Flute, and Piano or Harp

I love, love, love Matthew Culloton's arrangements, but many are beyond the capabilities of our smallish church choirs. This is one I think I could actually do! Love this melody (and text) and this setting is simple, yet striking.

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming (arr. Howard Helvey)
SATB Choir with Piano

One of my favorite Christmas melodies. You can't go wrong with the original (a cappella) Praetorius version, but if you'd like something a little different (and with piano accompaniment), this arrangement is really lovely. Nice descant at the end, too!

I Saw the Cross of Jesus (Victor C. Johnson)
SATB Choir with Piano

Victor Johnson may be my new favorite! Another setting of an old text, this is hauntingly beautiful piece for Lent. The text is quite stirring. The first part reads:

"I saw the cross of Jesus, when burdened with my sin; I sought the cross of Jesus, to give me peace within. I brought my soul to Jesus, He cleansed it in His blood; And in the cross of Jesus I found my peace with God."

Christmas Bells (arr. Lloyd Larson)
SATB with Piano or optional 4-hand Piano and Handbells

A fun, upbeat anthem for the Christmas season, this one quotes "Ding Dong! Merrily on High" and "Joy to the World" and has optional parts for 4-hand piano and handbells!

Related Posts:
2014 Reading Session Picks: Adult Choir
2014 Reading Session Picks: Children's Choir
Top 50 Favorite Anthems for the Small Church Choir
25 Church Choir Anthems for Ordinary Time