Church Music

A Mighty Fortress & Other Favorites: New Anthems for Fall

A Mighty Fortress & Other Favorites: New Anthems for Fall

I love discovering new anthems, don’t you?

I love seeing how composers come up with new ideas or reuse existing material - creating something new from an old hymn tune or setting a hymn text to an original melody.

Over the summer, I shared my “Reading Session Picks” for adult choirs, youth choirs, and children’s choir - new (or new-ish) anthems I encountered in choral reading sessions at Music and Worship Arts Week and liked enough to recommend to you here.

Today, I want to share a few more recommendations, perhaps well-suited for an adult or youth ensemble or an intergenerational group of some kind.

The anthems on this list would be perfect for Fall, either Thanksgiving season or during Advent.

Classic Anthems Every Church Choir Should Sing

Classic Anthems Every Church Choir Should Sing

Some anthems are just classics.

They’re timeless - not bound by a particular era, not tied to a particular movement or trend in choral literature or church history, not limited to a particular style or context. Some anthems are able to transcend those things and fit equally well in a worship service today as they did 30 years ago.

So, I started taking notes.

The anthems on this list are drawn from my own choir experiences in Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches. These are titles that have shown up in multiple church music libraries through the years - the ones that bring you back to all the times and places you’ve sung it before.

4 Strategies to Help Your Adult Choir Improve Their Sight-Reading Skills

4 Strategies to Help Your Adult Choir Improve Their Sight-Reading Skills

It's one the greatest musical skills you can help your choir develop: singing and reading music for themselves with musical understanding.

Just like learning to read language, music-reading comes after listening and interacting with music aurally and developing a musical vocabulary of tonal and rhythm patterns (these are like words in language).

Think of how you learned to read: You probably spent a lot of time following along in a book as you listened to someone else read to you.

Eventually, you started finishing the sentences and pointing to the words as you went along.

You learned simple words like, go and dog and started being able to identify them in the context of other books.

Learning to read music is no different. We learn to recognize tonal and rhythm patterns like familiar words in books.

10 Icebreakers Your Adult Choir Will Love

10 Icebreakers Your Adult Choir Will Love

Looking for a fun, creative way to start the choir year? Consider hosting a kick-off party or retreat.

This is a time to celebrate the start of a new season, welcome both returning and new members, and get a head start on all the music you have picked out for the months ahead (P.S. Christmas is only 19 weeks away!).

Whether you’re hosting a full-day retreat, a Saturday morning workshop, or extending your first midweek rehearsal (perhaps with dinner beforehand), make sure to plan a few hours of dedicated rehearsal time (including warm-ups!) plus some time for fellowship.

The Back-to-Choir Guide for Church Musicians

The Back-to-Choir Guide for Church Musicians

It’s the most wonderful time of the year - back-to-school season, that is!

Even though I’m not a student anymore, as a teacher, I love the fresh-start feeling that comes with a new academic year (including new school supplies!).

And the same is true in church settings when choir and ensembles start back up.

But getting back into that weekly rehearsal routine after a long summer hiatus can be challenging, and making sure you’re prepared and ready for that first week back can be a daunting task, particularly if you procrastinated on some of those things on your summer to-do list:

2019 Reading Session Picks: Adult Choir

2019 Reading Session Picks: Adult Choir

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.

What to Sing with Your Summer Choir

What to Sing with Your Summer Choir

So, you’ve decided to have a summer choir. 😊

You’ve invited your current choir members and put the word out to others in the congregation who might be interested. Now, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to sing each week.

Depending on how you structure your summer choir, you may have a general sense of how many people you’ll have each week (and how many parts you’ll have covered). But, if you’re leaving it more open and letting people show up without RSVPing ahead of time, choosing music can be a bit more complicated.

Related post: Three Ways to Have a Summer Choir (+ How to Make the Most of Your Time Together)

You need anthems that are:

  • singable and intuitive

  • written in an accessible way

  • easy to learn

Three Ways to Have a Summer Choir (+ How to Make the Most of Your Time Together)

Three Ways to Have a Summer Choir (+ How to Make the Most of Your Time Together)

It’s that time of the year: The days are getting longer, the grass is growing taller, and we can (finally) leave the house without putting on a coat - summer is almost here!

As people are wrapping up their school-year commitments and making plans for those lazy, hazy days of summer, now is the perfect time to start organizing a summer choir at your church.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:

“That’s not in my contract!”
"We all deserve a little break, don’t you think?”
"No one would come if we had rehearsals in the summer.”

I get it. Summer choirs may work really well in some churches and not-so-well in others.

The good news is, there’s not a one-size-fits-all model.

7 More Theme Ideas for Your Next Choir Program

7 More Theme Ideas for Your Next Choir Program

A few years ago, I wrote a post called, 10 Theme Ideas for Your Next Choir Program. Today, I’m writing a follow-up post to share seven more ideas to add to your inspiration list.

Choir programs are a great way to keep your choir members engaged and committed to rehearsals (especially toward the end of the academic year, or over the summer) and explore some new music that you wouldn’t normally sing during the church year.

The music you choose will depend on your choir's interests and abilities, your church, and your goals for the music program. Plan a choir program as a fundraiser of some kind or to celebrate a special anniversary for your church. Consider collaborating with other church choirs in the area to create a special community event.

Summer Conferences for Church Musicians (2019 Edition)

Summer Conferences for Church Musicians (2019 Edition)

For those of us who teach during the year, summer is the perfect time to learn and develop our own musicianship skills and catch up on some professional development.

Summer conferences are a great way to do this. They help us stay connected with others in the field; learn new things about playing, singing, directing, and teaching; find inspiration for creating meaningful and engaging worship services; and hear about all the latest music releases: choral, handbell, children's choir resources, curriculum, instrumental collections, etc.