September 22, 2016 by morningcamequickly
Two years ago about mid-October I knew that I did not have the ‘it’ song for my middle school choir. The ones we were working on were good and they were learning them well, but there wasn’t a light in their eyes. They just weren’t investing in it. In my opinion, you can’t put on a really good concert if the students aren’t interested. The audience will know the extra spark is missing. So, I put out some feelers to my music teaching friends and I got a winner. So, here is that song, plus some other favorites that I’ve done the last couple of years. Students will get hooked on these and that excitement will then spill over into the other songs. It’s like Emeril kicking it up a notch!
Remember, it’s not always about the big, flashy song. Students like the thoughtful, quiet songs too. When you find the right balance, you have a concert that is an enjoyable experience for both singers and audience members. Have fun planning your concert!
Carol of the Snow by Ruth Morris Gray – Wow! This was a hit with my middle school choir. It has a little rhythm and then cries out, “Snow! Snow!”. I did the 3 part mixed version and it went together easily. I also absolutely loved playing it.
‘Zat You, Santa Claus? arranged by Kirby Shaw – A little zippy with some boop bop bah dat’s thrown in, the SAB version was perfect for my high school group. (I only had 9 students that year!) We made the best of it though and they added some choreography and a few solos and the audience loved it. I held my breath every time I played it, but if your piano skills aren’t there, get the sound track.
Under Winter Moon by Andy Beck – Gorgeous! It is a smooth, rich piece and if you can find a cello player all the more lovely. I did this with my high school group, but if you have a decent middle school choir I’m sure you could pull it off. Kids surprise you like that!
A Winter Blast! arranged by Greg Gilpin – I thought it would be neat if my groups each did a song from Polar Express and this was for my middle school group, although I’m sure high school would enjoy it too. Trust me, after ‘Zat You, Santa Claus?’, I decided to get the sound track for this one and I didn’t regret it. The kids loved it. They were able to bring in a mug or cup to use for our movements. I have to tell you that one of my 8th grade boys who got put in the group and didn’t want to be there showed up with a mug with an “I heart choir” logo on it that he made! Boy that energized everyone!
Sing Joy: A Medley of Carols arranged by Jay Althouse – Another fun one to accompany and sing. It turned out to be a great opener for the concert by my high school group and then they wrapped up the concert at the end.
Winter Pathetique by Audrey Snyder – This song combined Beethoven’s music with Snyder’s words and it really turned out nice. I did the 3 part mixed with my middle school group and they really gained some musicianship with this one. The favorite part was when we got out our ‘opera’ voices at measure 20, “And though the winds may blow” with a jump from ‘A’ to ‘E’. Fun stuff!
So, there you go, some great songs if you are stuck with what to round out your concert with. Happy music making and be sure to comment with your favorites!