Pick Six By:

Tim Sawyer

Repertoire & Resources Chair for Community Choirs
University of Northwestern-St. Paul/Two Rivers Chorale


Ave Verum Corpus

Colin Mawby

Kevin Mayhew Publishing


Amid scores of settings of this familiar liturgical Latin text, this beautiful piece stands on it’s own and makes a deep impression. English composer Colin Mawby sets this text with rich, divisi chords accompanied by keyboard (organ or piano) providing the backdrop for an emotional, lush, and soaring setting of the Ave Verum, perfect for a liturgical or concert setting.

Chua-ay (from Scenes from the North)

Fidel G. Calalang, Jr.



This is a delightful, rhythmic and challenging piece coming from the Philippines rich choral tradition, which combines musical influences of Spanish, American, and indigenous Asian cultures. The opening of this popular Filipino Igorot folksong features a compelling two soprano “bird song,” calling back and forth to one another. Foot stomps and clapping punctuate a rhythmic and lively song that is full of joy and life.

The Rose That Bare Jesu

Ron Kean

Pavane P-1583


Ron Kean, a familiar name to the California choral community, has set this beloved 14th century text – “There is no rose of such virtue” – in new and fresh garb. An evocative piano accompaniment with hand percussion (triangle, finger cymbals), provide the backdrop to an expressive and sweeping melody, combined together with a jig-like line, with two against three rhythms. Challenging, but worth the effort!


The Peace of Wild Things

Matthew J. Olson

Colla Voce Music 36-20184


Matthew Olson is a New Ulm, Minnesota native and founder and director of Oratory, a relatively new Twin Cities Bach cantata choir. He has set this familiar text by Wendell Berry, in praise of nature, and culminating in the line “I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” This piece is lovely, with minimal divisi, accessible to a capable choir, and would make a perfect addition to a program about nature.


The Trumpet Sounds Within-a My Soul

Ian David Coleman

Alliance AMP 1020


This fresh and unique setting of the American spiritual “Steal Away” features a beautiful and classic and bluesy trumpet introduction, which continues to guide and punctuate the choral writing throughout. This piece has a rich, homophonic texture that evokes the text, but also requires a solid trumpet player.


When Music Sounds

Connor J. Koppin

SBMP 1402


Wartburg College graduate from 2015 and Iowa native, Connor Koppin is quickly developing a reputation for his well-crafted and beautiful compositions. This is a setting of a poem by English poet John de la Mare (1873-1956). The text is a celebration of music and nature with a mythical flavor. The piano accompaniment for this piece is challenging, but accessible. This piece would be a great addition to any capable high school, university or community choir