2019 Reading Session Picks: Youth Choir

2019 Reading Session Picks - Youth Choir-35.png

This month, after attending eight reading sessions and reviewing stacks of new anthems, I’m sharing my choral “Reading Session Picks” for 2019. So far, I’ve published 18 adult choir anthems and 10 children’s choir anthems.

Next in the series is youth choir anthems.

Now, depending on the size of your group and the ages you're working with (middle school singers vs. senior high singers), choosing music can be a little tricky.

Because of this, I tried to include a variety of anthems on this list: SATB, SAB or Three-Part Mixed, and even an SA anthem for those of you with smaller or younger groups (or not a lot of guys at the moment!).

Here are my 13 anthem picks for this year:

2019 Reading Session Picks: Youth Choir

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Show Us How to Love (Mark A. Miller)
SATB Choir with Piano

A poignant and deeply meaningful anthem by Mark A. Miller with beautiful lyrics by Lindy Thompson: “Hearts open, minds awake, change us now for heaven’s sake. Leave us not alone in hatred’s wake. Show us how to love.”

>> Listen to a recording here.

A Canon of Praise (Natalie Sleeth/arr. Kathy Lowrie)
Three-Part Mixed Choir with Piano + opt. 3-Octave Handbells

A joyful canon featuring three melodies each presented in 3-part canon, then combined the last time. A festive handbell part and simple piano accompaniment helps tie everything together.

>> Listen to a recording here.

Four Sacred Rounds (Timothy G. Bushong)
Three-Part Choir, a cappella

Each round in this collection includes three standalone (unison) parts for use as introits, hymn introductions, or prayer responses. The parts may also be sung in 2- or 3-part canon as an anthem or offertory piece. Hymn pairing recommendations are included. Titles include: Sing a Joyful Song, Love Each Other, Give Thanks to God, and I Am Loved.

>> Listen to a recording here.

Welcome to God’s Love (Mark A. Miller)
SATB Choir with Piano

A gentle song of welcome, affirmation, and acceptance, with meaningful text by Lindy Thompson: “Every person has a place in this holy, sacred space, earth’s entire human race, welcome!”

>> Listen to a recording here.

Ubi Caritas (Greg Gilpin)
Three-Part Mixed Choir with Piano

Imitative part-writing, interesting melodic lines, and a simple, flowing accompaniment. Accessible and very appropriate for Lent. (P.S. For more Ubi Caritas settings, see these 10 settings for Holy Week.)

>> Listen to a recording here.

Silent Night (Close Your Eyes and Sleep) (arr. Heather Sorrenson)
SATB Choir with Piano + opt. Instrumental Accompaniment

A lyrical, more contemporary setting of “Silent Night,” with a few slight rhythmic variations and an original song, “Close Your Eyes and Sleep” in the middle.

>> Listen to a recording here.

Music Education & Leadership Skills for the Youth Choir Director - an online course.png

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Packed with practical tools and resources you can use right away, you’ll learn how mindset can impact the learning process, how people learn music, how to teach vocal technique and choral methods, develop sight-reading skills, choose music, plan rehearsals, and more.

Salvation is Created (arr. Russell Robinson)
Three-Part Mixed Choir, a cappella

An approachable setting of this classical choral work, with simplified, accessible part-writing and lyrical phrasing.

>> Listen to a recording here.

My Alleluia (Heather Sorenson)
SATB Choir with Piano + opt. Violin and Cello

Gentle syncopation and a memorable repeated chorus, this anthem is a moving and meaningful prayer: “Before I greet the morning sun, before I start the day, I’ll thank you for the things to come, I’ll worship as I pray. Alleluia.”

>> Listen to a recording here.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God (arr. Mark Patterson)
SAT(B) Choir with Piano + opt. B-flat Trumpet

An upbeat, syncopated setting of this traditional Reformation hymn with lots of unison writing and an optional bass part. A lyrical section in the middle provides a nice contrast.

>> Listen to a recording here.

For Everyone Born (arr. Tom Trenney)
SATB Choir with Piano + Cello

A warm affirmation: “For everyone born, a place at the table, to live without fear, and simply to be, to work, to speak out, to witness and worship, for everyone born, the right to be free!”

>> Listen to a recording here.

I Shall Not Live in Vain (Ruth Morris Gray)
SAB Choir with Piano + opt. Violin

Beautiful lyrics by Emily Dickinson speak of the influence we can have and the good we can do with our lives. “If I can keep one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain."

>> Listen to a recording here.

Sisi ni moja (We Are One) (Jacob J. Narverud)
SA or SA(T)B Choir with Piano and Djembe

A fun, rhythmic piece celebrating unity and what brings us together. A sparkling piano accompaniment and lyrical vocal lines are contrasted by engaging rhythms on the Djembe and gentle syncopations that gradually build in the choral parts. A mix of English and African text is used.

>> 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.

Looking for more anthem recommendations?

Browse previous years:

2018 Reading Session Picks
2016 Reading Session Picks

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