Pick Six By:

reid-larsen-144x180Reid Larsen

Repertoire & Resources Chair for Middle Level/Jr. High Choirs
Cottage Grove Middle School


Keyan Dances

arr. Tim Gregory (Transcribed Dan LeJeune)

Hal Leonard, 00139976

2-part unaccompanied

Authentic multicultural music is often hard to come by. Tim Gregory gives us a great glimpse into Kenyan music with “Kenyan Dances.” The arrangement is two-part throughout and has many great opportunities for soloists. A field recording of the three songs included in the arrangement are in this video:

Showing the original context of the piece is very powerful and engaging.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Kenney Potter

Santa Barbara Music Publishing, SBMP 1017

SATB, unaccompanied

“Hope is the Thing with Feathers” is a wonderful setting of the Emily Dickinson poem. Not only a great way to introduce your choristers to a famous American poet, the piece is in a lively mixed meter. The melody floats gracefully with an accessible range while the supporting parts create an ostinato feel. This piece is a great way to really delve into text and the musical setting.


Elijah Rock

arr. Rollo Dilworth

Hal Leonard, 00125450

3-Part treble, accompanied

The strengths of Dilworth’s arrangements are in their accessible, yet interesting harmonic writing and exciting piano accompaniments. “Elijah Rock” takes the well-known spiritual and incorporates a laid back 16th-note swing feel with wonderful counter harmonies. This piece balances ostinato patterns while pushing the musicianship of your ensemble with homophonic part singing. The arrangement is voiced for 3-part treble, but could very easily be used in a 6th grade mixed choir.


Cangia, Cangia Tue Volgie
Giovanni Battista Fasolo

arr. Tom Shelton

Hinshaw, 10437515
Also available TTB, 10304213

SAB, accompanied

“Cangia, Cangia Tue Volgie” is a beautiful Italian Baroque aria scored for SAB. Although these is a fair amount of Italian, a pronunciation guide is included. The melody is absolutely stunning and is shared with all of the voice parts. Phrase shaping is a great teaching point with this piece.


Shady Grove

arr. Robert I. Hugh

Hal Leonard 1035832
Also available SSA 10441912

SSAB, accompanied

“Shady Grove” is an Appalachian folk song arranged for SSAB, piano, mandolin, conga, and washboard. Hugh incorporates several other American folk songs in layered vocal parts in fresh, inventive ways. The underlying accompaniment incorporates some funk rhythms creating a polycultural feel. This piece offers opportunities to teach theme and variation, augmentation, and many elements of musical style.



Israeli Folk Song, arr. Doreen Rao

Boosey & Hawkes 48004213

Unison, accompanied or 2 or 3-Part unaccompanied

This is a very adaptable setting of an Israeli folk song. The octavo includes both unison and a canon version for two or three voices. Due to the flexibility of the arrangement, several different voice types and choral settings could study this song. This setting is a nice introduction to different modes and music from the Middle East. With your students, a focus on the minor key and the tension between adjacent half steps in the melody would be a great first step.