Pick Six By:

Carole Whitney

Carole Whitney

Repertoire and Resources Chair for Ethnic Music
St. Paul Como Park High School


A Dreamer’s Creed

Music by Rollo Dilworth
Words by Harold Childress and Virginia Warren

Hal Leonard, 08743873

SATB, accompanied


This piece is written in the gospel tradition and includes an accurate piano part. The text, taken from the motto of a Chicago school, provides inspiring thoughts on life and living: “We believe in the creation of inspired lives produced by the miracle of hard work.” A solo men’s section and a solo women’s section are followed by Dilworth’s signature style of building up by voice part.

African Processional Jambo rafiki yangu (Welcome, my friend)

Music by D.V. Montoya
Words by Carah Reed and D.V. Montoya

Pavane Publishing – P1197

Unison choir, SATB choir, tenor solo and percussion (a cappella) Sung in Swahili

VIDEO – Air Force Singing Sergeants

VIDEO — Middle and High School singers

This piece allows you to feature all your singers with both a unison and SATB choir singing together. Words of friendship, “always remember me and I will remember you,” are traded between the 2 choirs and the soloist. There is a great feature solo for tenor or soprano and choreography options make this an easy to learn, yet complex and interesting to hear piece.

KCumbia del sol, Traditional Colombian Dance

arr. Audrey Snyder

Hal Leonard, 00141688 – 2 part; 00141687 – 3 part mixed
VoiceTrax CD Also available

2-part and 3-part mixed available, Sung in Spanish and English

VIDEO — Hal Leonard’s YouTube

VIDEO — Choreography by John Jacobson

Of all the dances south of the border, the cumbia is probably one of the easiest to learn. Have a small group dance while the choir sings, or give them all some steps to do. Not much Spanish to learn here makes this a very do-able piece.

Okuyama Ni (In the Mountains Deep)

Music by Ruth Morris Gray
Words by Sarumaru Dayu (12th Century), poetic translation by Ruth Morris Gray

Shawnee Press, 35028170 – 2 part; 35028169 – 3 part mixed; Studio Trax CD also available

2-part and 3-part mixed available, Optional Flute and Percussion
Sung in Japanese and English


A lovely poem about autumn with a sensitive setting, Okuyama Ni, has an easy to interpret transliteration for the Japanese and the English translation is also sung. You could even make your task easier with these rehearsal tracks https://youtu.be/u19Y64YTPqY

Thanks HKMS Choir Resources.


Music by Paul John Rudoi
Text from Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.iii.28

Graphite Publishing, GP-R013

SATB choir with optional djembe, a cappella
Sung in Sanskrit


If you sang in the 2016 Director’s Chorus at Summer Dialogue, this piece needs no introduction. This song was commissioned by Philip Brown and Hopkins High School from our Minnesota neighbors at Graphite Publishing. My concert choir is currently working on it and love the sound – they say it sounds like the earth breathing.  Rudoi has provided good guidance on pronouncing the Sanskrit.

A Navaho Prayer

Music by Cary John Franklin
Text from an anonymous Navajo prayer

Boosey & Hawkes, special order

SATB choir, a cappella


Another locally commissioned and composed piece, A Navaho Prayer is a lovely setting with gentle dissonance in the music and consonance in the text. While three churches commissioned this piece, it is suitable for any setting. My singers enjoyed this piece as an introduction to cluster chord and ostinato singing.