small choir

No-Fuss, Instant Anthems for the Small Church Choir

No-Fuss, Instant Anthems for the Small Church Choir

If you work with a small church choir, you know the challenges of having an anthem (or two!) ready every Sunday. Sometimes, you check the sign-out calendar and realize you won't have any Altos next week.

Sometimes, service plans change at the last minute.

And sometimes, you just need a no-fuss, simple solution for the Sunday anthem slot.

Perfect for Sundays when you haven't had a rehearsal, or times when you have a slimmer crowd (think holiday weekends or during the summer), here are a few quick ways to create no-fuss, instant anthems for your choir:


Your hymnal is a great resource! Choose a crowd favorite, one with 4-part writing and singable lines, and experiment with ways to sing each verse:

- unison women or men
- additive by phrase (S, SA, SAT, SATB or S, ST, SAT, SATB)
- 4-part
- Sopranos singing the Tenor line as a descant, everyone else in unison on the melody
- one section singing the melody on text while the others sing the harmony parts on "ooh"
- Tenors singing the melody (Sopranos singing the Tenor part up an octave)

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.