When I have the opportunity to sit in on reading sessions, I’m keeping an eye out for any good anthem - whatever the voicing might be. If it has good text, is well-crafted musically and artistically, and is versatile enough to be used more than one Sunday out of the year, I make a note of it.
Everyone has their own rating system for this - some use a check-plus, check, check-minus system, others use smiley faces (with teeth, without teeth, indifferent, sad). To each their own, right?
Anyway, once I get back home with the anthems I saved, I divide them up into piles for easy list-making and cataloging later: Adult Choir, Youth, Children’s Choir, and Ensemble.
2017 Reading Session Picks
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Oh, How Good It Is (arr. Molly Ijames)
SATB with piano and opt. instruments
With a lilting, Celtic flare, this piece, written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, is based on Ephesians 4 with themes of unity, praise, and God’s presence among us. An accessible 4-part anthem, with several unison or 2-part passages.
Creation Sings (arr. Lloyd Larson)
SATB with piano and opt. violin, cello, acoustic guitar, upright bass, percussion
Another Getty/Townend piece, this anthem has beautiful, poetic text and themes of Creation, praise, and God’s care for us.
Day By Day (Victor Johnson)
SATB with piano
A captivating new melody for this traditional, prayerful text with a flowing, but supportive piano part. Short and sweet (under two minutes), this would be a beautiful piece for a small mixed ensemble to do as a Call to Prayer.
More Like You, Lord, May I Be (Brad Nix)
SATB, a cappella
A rich, but simple piece with three verses and a bridge - perfect for a mixed ensemble. A prayerful text with themes of mercy, grace, and humility.
Amazing Grace (Mark A. Miller)
Unison/2-part with piano
This arrangement begins simply, but soon breaks into an upbeat, rhythmic version (new melody, old text). With driving accompaniment and repetitive rhythms, this piece would be accessible for youth choirs, youth or adult ensembles, or intergenerational groups.