Pick Six By:
S.C. Molefe/arr. Cameron LaBarr
Chorister’s Guild CGA1285
SATB or Three-Part Treble, unaccompanied
This very accessible SATB has minimal language to learn with a lot of repetition. “Amen Siakudumisa” has percussion and an opportunity for solos included in the score. It is a very fun and upbeat traditional South African piece. The homophonic part writing can be challenging for young singers. A great way to combat this challenge is to teach everyone all of the vocal lines. Make a fun game out of calling out a voice part and singing that. Then, you slowly layer the parts together.
arr. Rollo Dilworth
Hal Leonard, 08551978
Arranged by Rollo Dilworth, “John Henry” is a wonderful piece for young middle-level choirs at the beginning of the year. As with many Dilworth arrangements, the piano part is exciting and enhances the vocal lines. Along with nice melodic moments, Dilworth includes some onomatopoeia. Musical concepts like rubato, tempo changes, key changes, swing, and many more can be addressed in this piece.
Follow the Drinking Gourd
Walton Music, WW1298
Dan Davison’s setting of “Follow the Drinking Gourd” is a nice twist on a very common tune. Syncopation and ostinato make this arrangement approachable and fresh. The SAB ranges in the piece will fit well with your developing-voice choirs. Pedagogically, this is a great way to teach ostinato. Students could create their own ostinato after learning the arrangement.
Old Joe Clark
BriLee Music, BL979
Another great Davison arrangement! This version of Old Joe Clark is accessible SATB for middle-level voices. Davison’s setting is extremely inventive making the piece come to life. The melody is passed around the ensemble well, and the part writing is wonderful. Students will be challenged by the articulation of this piece. Try incorporating different articulations throughout your daily warm-ups so students can transfer their knowledge from the piece to their everyday singing.
Alfred Publishing Co., 3024569/3024577
TB or SA, unaccompanied
Singh’s “Medieval Gloria” is a great introduction for middle-level singers into a different style of music. An easy and educational “way in” would be playing chant for your students, a genre most of them have not––or may never––hear without your tutelage! If your students are very adept in solfege, they could very easily compose chant of their own.
Victor C. Johnson
Choristers Guild, 10602840/10602842
“Sisi Kushangilia” is a wonderful piece by Victor Johnson. Three percussion parts (shaker, hand drum, and djembe) are included in the score. When teaching this song, consider teaching the percussion to everyone and form groups or drumming circles to draw out all of the possible rhythmic learning. Students could then create new ostinato rhythms using percussion instruments or even body percussion. The vocal lines are well written and have very singable ranges.