SATB

"Immortal Love, Forever Full" and 15 More Anthems for Holy Week

"Immortal Love, Forever Full" and 15 More Anthems for Holy Week

Holy Week is the week in between Palm Sunday and Easter. It’s the time in the church year when we remember the Last Supper, Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, the denial, the crucifixion.

Some churches have several Holy Week services: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil. Others alternate between having a Maundy Thursday service one year and a Good Friday service the next. Still others have one combined Holy Week service that touches on all the events of the week: the Last Supper, Jesus praying in the Garden, and the Crucifixion.

Last year, I shared my service outline for a combined Holy Week service that incorporated music, art, and poetry. I used symbols to guide us through the events of the week: Light, Water, Table, Garden, Courtyard, Cross, Darkness. Download a copy for free here.

11 Modern Choral Hymn Settings for Christmas

11 Modern Choral Hymn Settings for Christmas

Fall is in the air (literally, here in Rochester). The nights are cool, the pumpkins and mums are out, and Fall cups are back at Starbucks.

This can mean only one thing: it’s time to start listening to Christmas music. Naturally.

Every year around this time, I spend some time browsing online music catalogs and listening to a variety of Advent and Christmas anthems: seeing what’s new, discovering old favorites, and looking for inspiration (you, too?). Not necessarily because I need to buy something; perhaps more out of curiosity. 

In my recent perusing, I was struck by the number of traditional hymns and carols I found that have been reimagined and creatively set in fresh, modern ways. So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you. I tried to include a variety of anthems in this list - most are SATB (some with divisi, others without), but there’s one SAB and one 2-part anthem in the mix, as well. Hope you find something you can use with your choir this year!

Whether you’re in the not-quite-done-with-my-Christmas-planning-yet camp or the I-could-use-a-little-seasonal-inspiration, I hope you enjoy listening to and browsing these modern hymn arrangements.

2016 Reading Session Picks: Youth Choir

2016 Reading Session Picks: Youth Choir

Last week at Music and Worship Arts Week, I joined numerous others (choir directors, singers, organists, etc.) at a series of choral reading sessions.

When I look for youth choir anthems, I look for relevant, meaningful text and beautiful, well-crafted music (here's an inside look at my process). I look for anthems that will inspire and encourage adolescent singers and connect with their faith.

Several publishers (Hope, Alfred, Beckenhorst, GIA, Hinshaw, Lorenz, etc.) were on-site to present the newest offerings from their catalogs and the choral clinicians for the week presented their own reading sessions of their favorite works.

As such, today's post includes a mix of old and new, classic and modern, traditional and more contemporary anthems. (See my reading session picks for adult choir here.) There's also a mix of voicings - everything from unison/2-part up to SATB, depending on the number of voices you have and the level of your group.

I hope you find something meaningful to and accessible for your choir

Top 50 Favorite Anthems for Youth Choir

Top 50 Favorite Anthems for Youth Choir

I've written several posts like this one with anthem recommendations for the small church choir (here and here) and children's choirs (here), but today's post is specifically for youth choirs. Youth are often looking for life-changing experiences - things that will empower them. Choir and the music you sing can offer words and meaning to go with those experiences. Look carefully at the text, listen for beauty and singability in the musical lines, and look for teachable moments (life, faith, and music).

The anthems in this post range from unison/2-part to SATB, depending on the age of your singers, size of your choir, and their ability to sing in parts. The nice thing is, many of these anthems are available in a variety of different voicings (marked with *), so you have a little more flexibility! 

Here are my top 50 anthems for youth choir:

Infographic: 10 Ways to Seat A Choir

Infographic: 10 Ways to Seat A Choir

There are lots of thoughts and opinions out there on choral seating formations: some swear by sopranos and altos in front with tenors and basses behind, others advocate for stacking sections (front-to-back), and still others say mixed formations are the way to go. The truth is, there's really no right or wrong way to do it, though you may find some formations work better for your group or for particular pieces you're singing.

That's why, in today's post, I'm sharing ten different ways to seat a choir. I'm also mixing things up a little by sharing my first-ever infographic! Before we get into seating formations though, let's talk about one basic principle that applies no matter what: 

The Power of the Curve

Sitting or standing in a curved formation makes a huge difference with listening, tuning, and choral blend (source). In The School Choral Program (2008), Michele and Holt and James Jordan describe two key reasons why sitting or standing in straight rows causes problems:

12 Anthems for Palm Sunday and Easter

12 Anthems for Palm Sunday and Easter

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are big celebrations in the life of the church and since they come back-to-back in the church calendar, it's one of the busiest weeks of the year for church musicians! Last week, I shared a few favorite anthems for Lent.

Today, I'm sharing a few ideas for Palm Sunday and Easter - from tried-and-true classics to anthems that are hot-off-the-press! Many also offer optional instrumental parts (brass, percussion, handbells), depending on the resources you have available.

Enjoy!

Anthems for Palm Sunday and Easter

Ride On, King Jesus (arr. Howard Helvey)
SATB Choir, A Cappella

This is a fun, classic arrangement of the traditional Palm Sunday spiritual. A little more challenging than others on this list, but worth it if you have the forces!

Ten Church Choir Anthems for Lent

Ten Church Choir Anthems for Lent

Lent. A time of reflection, sacrifice, prayer, and grace - our own journey through the wilderness. It's a time of stripping away, going without (for example, the practice of "burying the alleluia" during Lent) to draw closer to God. More of Him, less of us.

There are six Sundays during Lent, plus any services that take place during Holy Week (between Palm Sunday and Easter).

As a church musician, this means several opportunities for reflective, contemplative anthems with themes of mercy, surrender, prayer, communion, love, grace, and redemption. I also love the theme of God as our Shepherd during Lent.

Looking for a few new Lenten anthems to add to your library? Here are a few of my favorites:

10 Favorite Anthems for Lent

God So Loved the World (John Stainer)
SATB Choir, a cappella

A classic. This setting of John 3:16 is particularly effective as part of a Good Friday service.

Fifty (More!) Favorite Anthems for the Small Church Choir

Fifty (More!) Favorite Anthems for the Small Church Choir

I love discovering new choral anthems, especially ones that are musical, have great text, and are accessible for small church choirs. A few years back, I wrote this post with my top 50 favorite church choir anthems. Today's post is a follow-up, with 50 more anthems to consider adding to your choral library!

General

1. All Things Bright and Beautiful (Rutter)
2. Answer to the Call (McDonald)
3. Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel (arr. Emerson) - SAB
4. Do Not Be Afraid (Stopford)*
5. Hiding In Thee (Berry)
6. I Believe (Miller)
7. I Must Tell Jesus (arr. Shackley) - SAB
8. Keep God's Light (Patterson)
9. More Love to Thee (Shaw)*
10. My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (arr. Culloton)*

25 Church Choir Anthems for Ordinary Time

25 Church Choir Anthems for Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time, for most Protestant churches, begins the week after Pentecost and runs until the beginning of Advent. Some churches also consider the period between Epiphany Sunday and Lent Ordinary Time, making it the longest season of the liturgical year (source).

Are you doing the math? That's 33-34 Sundays in Ordinary Time in any given year. That's a lot of anthems! 

I thought today would be the perfect time to share some of favorite anthems for Ordinary Time. Most of them work really well with small choirs (or large choirs - whatever you've got!).

Without further ado, my top 25 anthems for Ordinary Time:

Top 50 Favorite Anthems for the Small Church Choir

50-Favorite-Anthems-for-the-Small-Church-Choir-01.png

As a church musician, I always look forward to this time of year and gathering for choir rehearsal for the first time after a long summer break. I tend to do most of my fall/Christmas planning over the summer and am always eager to see the choir's responses to new music in their folders.  Here are my top 50 go-to anthems for the small church choir (*=a little more challenging):

GENERAL

1. And the Father Will Dance (arr. Hayes)*
2. At the River (arr. Copland)
3. Blest Are They (Haas)
4. Brother James’ Air (Jacob)*
5. Climbin’ Up the Mountain, Children (Shackley)
6. Consecration (John Ness Beck)*
7. Find in Me (Hinnant)
8. God Be in My Head (Rutter)*
9. Grace (arr. Hayes)
10. Here’s One (arr. Fettke)
11. How Beautiful (Your Songs of Praise) (Fettke)
12. How Can I Keep From Singing? (Courtney)
13. Hush! Somebody’s Callin’ My Name (arr. Dennard)
14. Inscription of Hope - SSA (Stroope)
15. It is Well with My Soul (arr. Poorman)
16. Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now (Byrd)
17. Lord, Lead Us Still (Brahms)
18. Lord, You’ve Searched and Known Me (Wagner)
19. Morning Has Broken (arr. Scott)
20. My Tribute (arr. Lojeski)
21. Prayer for Peace (Lightfoot)
22. Spirit of God (Carter)*
23. The Gift of Love (arr. Hopson)
24. The Mighty Power of God (arr. Hayes)*
25. There Is a Balm in Gilead (Larson)
26. Within These Walls (Choplin)
27. Yes, My Jesus Loves Me (McDonald)*
28. You Are Mine (Haas)
29. You Are the Song (Courtney)*
30. You Knew Me, Lord (Shackley)

COMMUNION

31. And We Remember (Wagner)
32. Come to the Water (arr. Hasseler)
33. Gathered As One (Tate)
34. I Will Arise (arr. Shaw/Parker)
35. We Are One, Lord (Pethel)

THANKSGIVING

36. In the Season of our Plenty (Patterson)
37. For the Beauty of the Earth (arr. Rutter)*

ADVENT/CHRISTMAS

38. Every Valley (Beck)
39. How Far is it to Bethlehem? (arr. Hayes)
40. In the Stillness (Purifoy)
41. Lo, How a Rose (Praetorius)
42. Of the Father’s Love Begotten (arr. Rouse)*
43. Sing We Noel (Goemanne)*
44. Speaking Love (Danyew)

LENT/EASTER

45. Ain’t No Rock Gonna Shout for Me (Larson)
46. An Hour of Hallowed Peace (Danyew)*
47. He Is Risen Now! (Purifoy)
48. Immortal Love, Forever Full (arr. Kreider)*
49. Ride On, King Jesus (arr. Helvey)
50. Wondrous Love (Shackley)

Looking for more? Here are 50 (more!) favorites.