church year

Colorful, Creative Ways to Celebrate the Church Year with Your Children's Choir

Colorful, Creative Ways to Celebrate the Church Year with Your Children's Choir

The church year (also known as the liturgical year and the Christian year) is made up of seasons and holy days that connect us to our faith history, the stories we read in the Bible, and Jesus’ life and ministry on earth.

The church year begins with Advent - a short season of waiting and preparation, beginning four Sundays before Christmas. After Advent, we have the season of Christmas, which begins on Christmas Eve and lasts for 12 days.

We celebrate the season of Epiphany, beginning January 6, remembering the journey of the magi and Jesus being revealed as the Savior of the world. The season of/after Epiphany is often considered Ordinary Time (based on the word “ordinal,” meaning measured or counted).

The Colors and Seasons of the Church Year [Infographic]

The Colors and Seasons of the Church Year [Infographic]

Have you ever wondered what the colors at the front of the church mean? What do they symbolize? Why do they change on certain Sundays? Today's post is all about colors - purple, white, green, and red. These are the primary colors of the liturgical church year and each one symbolizes something about our faith and our spiritual walk.

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!


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)*

How to Set Good Goals

How to Set Good Goals

Summer days (in my opinion) are for good books, long walks, freshly-picked berries, and tall glasses of sweet tea on the porch, so I'll keep this post short so you can get back to what matters. :-)

We've come a long way since the first of the year, so I like to think of July as a checkpoint for my personal and business goals and a time to set new goals for my teaching in the Fall. 

Whether you're planning for your private studio or the start of a new choir year, prepare for success by setting accessible, achievable, and action-oriented goals.

Here is my process:

    Top 50 Favorite Anthems for the Small Church Choir


    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):


    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)


    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)


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


    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)


    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.