Thursday, November 14, 2013

Did You Order This Concert To Go?

Pre-packaged Holiday Concerts for Entry-Level High School Choirs

selections from Heritage Music Press

As a follow-up to my previous blog, Pre-packaged Holiday Concerts for Progressive High School Choirs, I’ve included holiday concert options below for entry-level/developing high school choirs (freshman groups, “come one, come all” choirs, etc.). This blog, much like the previous one, consists of two different concert “packages.” You can feel free to take the concerts as is or mix and match based on what would work best for your choir and your program. Again, my main goal is to take the guess work out so that all you need to do is prepare and serve!

Concert #1

Sing for Joy!
Selection #1 / Opener
Sing for Joy!, by Linda Spevacek
SATB, with piano

This uplifting and spirited adaptation of the beloved duet from Judas Maccabaeus is a perennial best seller. With its interesting and supportive accompaniment, this brief, accessible masterwork will instill confidence in developing choirs and start your holiday concert off with a unique and unexpected bang!

Lullaby on the Wind
Selection #2
Lullaby on the Wind, by Ruth Elaine Schram
SATB, with piano

Sensitive and artistic, this introspective piece depicts a hushed silence in Bethlehem as we are drawn to a simple stable by the lullaby of a new mother, intermingled with the sounds of a baby's soft cry. This tender moment is beautifully captured with original music and strains of Silent Night.

Saludo, Saludo
Selection #3
Saludo, Saludo, by Ruth Morris Gray
Three-part mixed, with piano

Singers will love performing this authentic Puerto Rican Christmas carol featuring a mixture of Spanish and English lyrics. Guys will especially enjoy the soaring saludo echoes and the hearty la la la lines. A playful piano accompaniment is enhanced by the optional percussion parts, and background is included about the Puerto Rican parranda (surprise Christmas caroling) tradition. An excellent multicultural option!

A Holiday Roundelay
Selection #4 / Closer
A Holiday Roundelay, by Victor Johnson
Three-part mixed, with piano

Joyous noels resound in this bright, festive holiday celebration from gifted composer Victor Johnson. Contrasting legato sections add to the musical interest and help to spell success in this excellent programming choice for young and developing choirs.

Concert #2

Exsultate, Jubilate!
Selection #1 / Opener
Exsultate, Jubilate!, by Jean and David Perry
Three-part mixed, with piano

This celebratory original piece includes one simple Latin phrase, and the rest of the text is in English. A supportive and interesting accompaniment, use of rounds, stepwise part writing, and opportunities for every part to sing the main theme all spell success for young and developing choirs.

Selection #2
In Winter
In Winter, by Victor Johnson
Three-part mixed, with piano

Softly stealing into the quiet moments of winter, this reflective piece evokes images of falling snow amid the graying sky of the season. Luscious harmonies, memorable melodies, and an artistic accompaniment grace this gorgeous original selection that incorporates familiar strains of Still, Still, Still to create a tender and introspective mood.

Sing Ding-a Ding-a Dong
Selection #3 (option 1)
Sing Ding-a Ding-a Dong, by Lynn Shaw Bailey
SSA, with piano

Give the guys a break and the girls a chance to shine! Ring in the holidays with this bright, joyful, and buoyant original piece that features the vocal parts emulating bells. Creative layering of independent melodies, which often partner together, make it a snap to learn this festive and happy selection with minimal rehearsal time.

Noel, Noel
Selection #3 (option 2)
Noel, Noel, by Linda Spevacek
TB, with piano and flute

And now for the guys! Two traditional English and French carols—complete with the original French lyrics as a performance option—are paired to create this memorable arrangement for the holiday season. The minor mode is the perfect backdrop for the noels, which are imaginatively incorporated throughout this engaging piece.

Deck the Hall with Haydn
Selection #4 / Closer
Deck the Hall with Haydn, by Greg Gilpin
SAB, with piano

What do Franz Joseph Haydn, Greg Gilpin, and the familiar "Deck the Hall" lyrics have in common? They're the ingredients that combine to create this novelty show stopper for your holiday concerts! The optional triangle parts will add a festive flair to this terrific closer!

I hope you will find these concert suggestions useful!

Best wishes for success and less stress!

For more information about all of the titles mentioned in this article, visit

Mark Jauss
Mark Jauss is an Editorial Administrator/Project Manager for the Lorenz Corporation, where he collaborates with both editors and composers to ensure the quality and timeliness of the varied music products Lorenz publishes. 

Mark is a graduate of Wright State University in Dayton, OH where he received a bachelor’s degree in music education, with a concentration in voice, and a master’s degree in choral conducting. While at Wright State, Mark was twice featured as a vocal soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, taught classes on conducting, sight-singing, and piano, and was the assistant conductor of both the Men’s Chorale and Chamber Singers.

Before coming to Lorenz, Mark spent four years teaching within the public school system. He was the director of choirs at both Howard W. Blake High School for the Performing Arts in Tampa, FL, and Monroe Jr./Sr. High School in Monroe, OH. Mark is also currently the director for the Kettering Children’s Choir organization. He is the director of the Concert Choir, an advanced treble choir which tours both within the state and internationally.

Mark has been the music director at his church since the age of 18, and has recently started traveling to various branches of his church throughout the country to give conducting workshops. In 2010, Mark was the music director for the church’s national youth day at Purdue University, which involved close to 300 musicians, and in 2012 he was the music director for a worship weekend sponsored by the church which involved musicians from six different states.

Mark is blessed to be the husband of Jennifer and father of Michael and to reside in the community of Kettering, OH.

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