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choir anthems for the "aging" voice

I'm having trouble finding music for a small church choir (16 singers) of seniors (65 - 80 + yrs. old).  The vocal range of the sopranos and tenors is smaller than average, and several singers have uncontrollable vibratos.  It is difficult to find 2 & 3 part music that is well-written, follows the liturgical year, and fits their voices well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
on February 25, 2014 2:32pm
St. James Music Press is a wonderful online subscription that, for a yearly fee of $139, permits you to print out as many copies as you like of as many of their anthems as you like.  They have lots of nice anthems, including plenty of things in 2 and 3 part voicings. 
 
I'm in a similar situation, especially in terms of having weak sopranos.  I'm happy to share some of the anthems we are using this winter if that is helpful! 
 
Julie Ford
on February 26, 2014 1:41pm
Sharron, I can relate - our 16-18 voice no-audition choir has mostly singers age 60+ (including two 80-year-olds), and it's a continuing challenge to find music they can deliver well  that is accessible to them while still meeting special needs including limited ranges. Here are some that have worked well for us:
 
"Easy Anthems for Classic Worship Volume I" - edited by Jane Holstein; publisher: Hope
-- We have worn the covers off (well, practically) this 11-anthem SAB collection, which delivers very good value for $8.95 per copy. The arrangements are musical, easily learned, and very accessible for the most part. The collection includes one of our favorite communion anthems, a haunting Advent/Christmas piece (we've used for Advent) and a piece very suitable for Lent, plus other general anthems. The arrangements represent a variety of styles (spiritual, folk, ballad, classical, etc.) and work well for both traditional and "blended" worship formats (our service is "blended").
 
Some single titles that have been good choices for us:
 
Camp Meeting - 2-part / Anna Laura Page & Jean Ann Shafferman/Alfred
Down In  The Valley To Pray - SAB / arr. Jay Althouse/Alfred
For The Fruit of All Creation - SAB / Fred Pratt Green-words, tune "Ard Hy Nos" (All Through the Night), arr. Jane Holstein (very nice Thanksgiving anthem)/Hope
Give Me Oil In My Lamp - 2 part w/optional descant - Sevison & Williams/arr. Joseph Martin/Alfred - fun, peppy arrangement of the camp/Sunday School song
God's Promise Coming True - 2 part / Mary Kay Bell/Hal Leonard (Advent / Christmas anthem)
Gracious Spirit, Dwell With Me - 2 part / K. Lee Scott /Augsburg Fortress - features a lovely plainsong melody that spans only 1 octave, with a canonical section that adds interest as well; one of our favorites, suitable for many different occasions in the liturgical calendar
Hallelujah - 2 part / Page & Shafferman/Alfred
My Shepherd - 2 part / Page & Shafferman/Alfred - very gentle, sweet setting of "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need", suitable for various liturgical seasons
Pachelbel's Canon of Peace - Unison or 2 part / arr. Patrick Liebergen /Alfred - w/optional flute - my choir was proud of being able to work on and master a piece with classical roots.  One of the simplest, and nicest, choral settings of the well-known Canon in D. 
Pass The Advent Light - Unison or 2-part / Patrick Liebergen/Alfred - very appealing folk-dance-like melody; a favorite
Promised Land - 2-part / Natalie Sleeth/Sacred Music Press - an up-tempo, spiritual-like melody passes back & forth between male/female voices, then voices join in a somewhat contrapuntal section that varies the simple tune.
Song of Joyful Praise - Unison or 2-part / Becki Slagle Mayo & Conrad Kocher/Lorenze - fun, accessible, suitable for Thanksgiving or any time of praise
 
Hope this helps!
 
Toni Gould
Organist/Pianist & Chancel Choir Co-leader
Northlawn United Methodist Church
Grand Rapids, MI
 
 
 
 
 
 
on February 27, 2014 7:58pm
You've asked for score sources, and St. James is a good one.  But, I have a suggestion with regard to "uncontrollable vibratos."  Though "uncontrollED," they may yet be controllABLE by the singer.  It may be that someone that can stick out their tongue and say "ahhhhh" (without vibrato) for the doctor can do it for the choir director.  Then it's just a matter of expanding to other vowel sounds and notes.  I think the "wobble" is a progressive relinquishing of the muscle control that holds the steady note.  It becomes easier to "surround" the note than hit and hold it.  I believe a coach can help a wobbly singer regain control starting with a "pretend visit to the doctor's office"...that is, if the singer recognizes the problem and really want to fix it.  The singer must keep at it and resist slipping back into the wobbly path of least resistance.  
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