2019 Reading Session Picks: Adult Choir

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This is one of my favorite posts to write each summer.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been reviewing literally hundreds of new choral releases and distilling them down to the 18 you’ll find on this list (+ a few other lists that I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks).

You should have seen how much music was in my suitcase coming back from Music and Worship Arts Week!

Today’s post is for adult church choirs.

I compiled my favorite new (or new-ish) anthems from 8+ reading sessions into a simple, readable guide that makes choosing new music for your choir a much easier (and less daunting) task.

The anthems on this list come from publishers like Chorister’s Guild, Beckenhorst Press, Hope Publishing, Hinshaw, Lorenz, and Jubilate Music Group and include optional instrumental parts (cello, flute, violin, trumpet, brass quartet, timpani) up to small ensemble and orchestra.

Not everything on this list will work for your choir, but I hope this list makes your job a little simpler this summer and I hope you find at least one anthem you love.

Happy singing!


2019 Reading Session Picks: Adult Choir

Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you decide to purchase through any of them, I will earn a small commission. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue creating free content. Thank you for your support!

Be Still, My Child (Lee Dengler)
SATB Choir with Piano

A beautiful, reverent setting of Psalm 46:10, incorporating the hymn, “Be Still, My Soul” with poetic text by Susan Naus Dengler: “There is a voice, a still, small voice that calls to you from wind and fire, that speaks amid the noise of life, and says, ‘Be still, my child, and know I am God.’” Powerful and poignant.

>> Listen to a recording here.

On This Silent, Holy Night (arr. Mary McDonald)
SATB Choir with Piano

A fresh, new arrangement of the hymn tune HUMILITY, this Christmas text by Joseph Mohr (1792-1848), adapted by Hope McDonald incorporates lines from “Silent Night.” Perfect for Christmas Eve!

>> Listen to a recording here.

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing (Mark Hayes)
SATB Choir with Piano + opt. Small Ensemble or Orchestra

An energetic, syncopated setting of this traditional hymn text with a new melody set in Dorian mode and lilting 12/8 meter.

>> Listen to a recording here.

Be Filled with the Spirit (Allen Pote)
SATB Choir with Piano

Based on Colossians 3:12-17, this chorale-style anthem features accessible part-writing and ranges, simple harmonic language, and a lyrical accompaniment.

>> Listen to a recording here.

Good Shepherd (Gwyneth Walker)
SATB Choir with Organ

A lovely setting of this text (“The King of Love my Shepherd is”), incorporating a brief repeated chorus using the text, “God before me. God beside me. God behind me. God above me.”

>> Listen to a recording here.

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (arr. John Ferguson)
SATB Choir with Organ and opt. Brass Quartet and Timpani

A traditional setting of this hymn, featuring brass fanfare, rich organ accompaniment, congregational singing, a creative choir-only stanza, and a soprano descant for the last verse.

>> Listen to a recording here.

To the Lamb on the Throne (Dan Forrest)
SATB Choir with Organ (or Piano) + opt. Brass Quintet and Timpani

A majestic, and powerful setting of Charles Wesley's text, “Ye Servants of God.” Rich harmonies with a descant and creative accompaniment throughout.

>> Listen to a recording here.

All Glory, Laud, and Honor (arr. Caleb French)
SATB Choir with Piano

A new setting of the traditional text and tune set in 6/8 meter.

>> Listen to a recording here.

Were You There (arr. Brian L. Hanson)
SATB Choir with Piano + opt. Cello

A reflective setting of this traditional Lenten spiritual with a beautiful cello obbligato. Includes an optional ending for Lent/Holy Week and one for more general use.

>> Listen to a recording here.


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Let Us Break Bread Together (arr. Brian L. Hanson)
SATB Choir with Piano

A very nice setting of this traditional communion hymn.

>> Listen to a recording here.

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (arr. John Carter)
SAB Choir with Piano

A simple setting of this familiar text and tune (RESIGNATION), with lyrical accompaniment and accessible part-writing.

>> Listen to a recording here.

Come with a Thankful Heart (Jayne Southwick Carol)
SATB Choir with Organ + opt. Congregation, Brass Quartet, and Timpani

A rich setting of a modern hymn, with text based on Psalm 100. Reproducible congregation part included. A wonderful choice for Thanksgiving Sunday, Music Sunday, or general use (the instrumental parts add a lot!).

>> Listen to a recording here.

Long-Expected Dawn (Karen Marrolli)
SATB Choir with Piano and Flute

A warm, prayerful anthem for Advent: “O let your advent herald clear an end to sorrow and to fear!” The flute obbligato incorporates fragments from VENI EMMANUEL and ERMUNTRE DICH.

>> Listen to a recording here.

If God Is For Us (Allen Pote)
SATB Choir with Piano

A lyrical setting of the text from Romans 8:31-39 with good text declamation throughout and a strong ending. Some Soprano divisi towards the end.

>> Listen to a recording here.

Hands of God (Michael Austin Miller)
SATB Choir with Piano + opt. Trumpet

A simple call to be the hands of God “offering blessing, offering love, offering hope, offering grace.” Written in a hymn style, with repeated rhythms and melodies and incorporating a quote from “A Mighty Fortress” in the middle.

>> Listen to a recording here.

O Day of Peace that Dimly Shines (arr. Jantz A. Black)
SATB Choir with Piano + opt. Violin

A flowing accompaniment and lyrical violin obbligato bring new colors and urgency to this familiar 20th-century hymn tune. Text by Carl P. Daw, Jr. offers a cry for peace and quotes Isaiah 11:6-9 (“then the wolf will dwell with the lamb”).

>> Listen to a recording here.

Rock of Ages (arr. Lloyd Larson)
SATB Choir with Piano

An accessible setting of James Ward’s tune, with original text by Augustus M. Toplady, followed by a quote of the original hymn.

>> Listen to a recording here.

My Hope Is Built (arr. Tom Trenney)
SATB Choir divisi with Piano

A gospel-style piano accompaniment brings new life to this hymn. The arrangement includes a contrasting section in relative minor and a repeated section at the end that begins with the basses and layers the other voices on top.

>> Listen to a recording here.


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Looking for more anthem recommendations?

Browse previous years:

2018 Reading Session Picks
2017 Reading Session Picks
2016 Reading Session Picks
2015 Reading Session Picks
2014 Reading Session Picks

What are your favorite new anthems? What will you be singing with your choir this year?