Berkshire Choral Festival
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Composition Spotlight: Bright Was the Star

COMPOSITION SPOTLIGHT ~ by Jack Senzig
 
(Each week we look at one or two of the best choral works posted in the Composition Showcase here on ChoralNet.  This is where we store a treasure trove of works that your choirs will love to sing and your audiences will love to hear.)
 
(click here for PDF and here for AUDIO
 
Level: Church Choir
Uses: Christmas
This Piece Would Program Well With: Christ is Born This Day arr. by Benjamin Harlan available from JWPepper or Sing For Christ is Born by Joseph Martin available form Sheet Music Plus
 
I would like to talk to you about church choir repertoire.  Not music for some glorious church choir that is singing SATB divisi repertoire in some obscure dialect of Latin, rather your typical American church choir.  Judging by the posts in ChoralNet communities, many active ChoralNet users have experience with this kind of choir.  You know what it is like to work with a small group of extremely dedicated, probably senior citizen members who read music by spacing and give you a hard time when you expand their musical experience.
 
There are many composers for this genre and publishers sell a lot of this type of repertoire.  Two composers that are at the absolute top are Benjamin Harlan and Joseph Martin.  They have written many pieces that your church choir and congregation will enjoy!     They give conductors just enough to challenge their choirs while providing a tonal and melodic experience that enhances the worship service.  
 
There are a few in the Composer’s of Choral Music Community on ChoralNet that write exceedingly well for this genre. Gordon Thornett is one of them.  Thornett has a long and impressive resume of published and self-published works for all levels of choirs.  His Bright Was the Star is a piece on par with the works of Martin and Harlan.  If you direct an advanced ensemble he offers a more advanced version as well and is working on an orchestral accompaniment.  Me, I will use the simpler version with my 13 dedicated troupers that love their coffee before the 8 AM service as much as they like to sing. 
 
Show your appreciation for your choir by getting them this piece for Christmas.  Bright Was the Star by Gordon Thornett. 
 
The piece is available from it's lyricist Brian Holmes:  horncabbage(a)aol.com