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Question about a boys/men's anthem for church

Greetings,
 
I am the Director of Music at a Lutheran Church. I have 3 very good boys in my Children's Choir, 4 good boys in Youth Choir, and good tenors and basses in my Adult Choir. I would love to do a Renaissance anthem with those forces combined. The boys from Children's Choir would take the soprano line, boys from Youth Choir would take the alto line, and the men in the Adult Choir would take the tenor and bass line. I would rehearse each separately, then combine them on a Sunday for worship. Any suggestions on an anthem?
 
Thanks,
Austen
Replies (7): Threaded | Chronological
on January 10, 2014 4:26pm
Considering the very short tutti rehearsal, I would start with 3 or 4 part canons.  Take a look at “Non nobis Domine” - attrib. William Byrd.  
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 11, 2014 4:07am
There are plenty of simpler anthems that these resources could work on and combine successfully just before performance.  Choose mostly homophonic textures. Farrant - "Lord, for Thy tender mercies' sake" comes to mind immediately.
 
But my bigger suggestion is the learning method: use Sibelius music software (or other similar) and write the piece into the program. Once done, you can
adjust the volume level for each line individually when you playback the anthem. The trebles will learn their part most easily without any change of balance. For the altos, crank up their line and subdue the other three, and the same for the two men's parts. Press M on your keyboard to bring up the mixer where those changes are made. I have used this technique successfully many times. It is no great struggle to master this rather basic technique in Sibelius. Also, of course, you can adjust the tempo - slower at the outset of the learning process and full tempo as the singers learn it better.
on January 12, 2014 3:34am
I am choir-member, rather than a conductor/director but all I can say is that I'd hate to do this. The ensemble surely needs time rehearsing together so that they can get used to blending with one another and hearing how their part fits into a whole. Just my two-penn'orth.
on January 12, 2014 5:19am
I just chose an anthem for the very same purpose with all my guys. Because my older boys are new at singing alto and the tutti rehearsal time will be minimal (as mentioned), I picked "Now Let Ev'ry Tongue Adore Thee" by Bach, the final movement of the Cantata on Wachet auf. I chose it because the boys' parts aren't too hard (although I am dropping it a tone or semitone because my 3rd graders have trouble being consistent on the three high G's) but the marvelous bass line will make them feel like they are really singing something wonderful when they put it all together. At least I hope so!
on January 12, 2014 2:32pm
There are several nice Renaissance-style pieces in English that your boys and men could learn fairly quickly.  Richard Farrant's "Lord, for Thy Tender Mercy's Sake" and Tallis' "If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments."  It's also Tallis, I believe, who wrote "O Lord, Increase My Faith."  All 3 of these are predominantly homophonic, which will shorten the learning curve.  For something more polyphonic (and a little more difficult) and in Latin, Palestrina's "Sicut Cervus" (a setting of the opening verse of Psalm 42) is hard to surpass.  You might be able to find any of these in public domain, although there are nice published versions as well.  Good luck -- a nice idea to bring your boys and men together.  
on January 13, 2014 1:53pm
O Lord, increase my faith - Orlando Gibbons, I think, rather than Tallis
on January 13, 2014 4:22pm
Thanks, Derek.  You're right -- it's Gibbons.  
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