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SSA/SA music with places as a theme

We are looking for ideas for a summer concert with a theme of places.  We have got some of the Vaughan Williams folk tune arrangements and Scarborough Fair for England, some Songs of Africa for Africa, obviously and are a bit stuck now.  We have a piano only to accompany us.  It would be particularly good if songs are easy/in rounds/cannons etc as we have a lot of new ladies (woo!) who are not able to read music and are having to learn by rote.  We are a ladies only choir, ranging from early 20's to 84 years.  
Many thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Replies (18): Threaded | Chronological
on March 30, 2014 7:01am
Your women would love Canadian composer Eleanor Daley's The Lake Isle of Innisfree for SSA and piano.
Applauded by an audience of 2
on March 30, 2014 11:50am
Song for the Mira  by Allister MacGilvray  
Applauded by an audience of 3
on April 1, 2014 6:19pm
First thing that came to mind, love this arrangement.
on March 30, 2014 3:30pm
Hi Jo:
If you can stretch your theme to "getting to a place" I can suggest two pieces written for children's choir that might fit your ensembles needs.  The pieces constitute a set I call "On the Road Again" (apologies to Willie Nelson).  Both involve mostly unison singing, except for rounds and cannons, and if your women can put themselves into the mindset of kids, the pieces might be a lot of fun for your singers and audience.  Each piece has a humorous, original lyric.  The music is not simplistic, but should be accessible to your group.
"Are We There Yet?" (subtitled "Travel in the Pre-digital Time) is for SSA and piano.  The text describes the endless questioning/frustration of the exhausted traveler.  (4'15")
"Digital Traveler" is for SSAA and piano.  The text describes how involved kids (everyone!!) are(is) with their digital devices, to the point of preferring the virtual cocoon to the real world.
I'd be happy to send you perusal pdf's and mp3's of the Finale playouts.
Bob Applebaum
on March 31, 2014 3:16am
How about Route 66 or Girl from Ipanema? Both are jazz standards, and I'm sure there are women-only arrangements.
on March 31, 2014 3:49am

You might want to have a look at some of Stephen Leek's compositions. (The unusual words in his titles, more often than not, are Australian place names.)



on March 31, 2014 9:01am
Bowling Green SA/Paino arr. by Nick Page  Boosey & Hawkes
Simple bluegrass setting.

Wish I was in Bowling Green,

Sittin’ in a chair,

One arm ‘round my pretty little miss,

the other ‘round my dear, 

on March 31, 2014 10:28pm
Not easy to memorize, but a familiar tune that will bring down the house. 
"Picnic of the World" Tom Chapin, available as  2-part.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on April 1, 2014 7:59am
I presume that for a summer concert you want lighter fare... 
From a mostly North American perspective:  many of these are pop/ballad style which your non-readers will find easier to memorize, and your exeperienced singers improv some harmonies.  Depends on skill levels, eh.
Might be fun to pair "April in Paris" (Vernon Duke) followed by "April in Whitehorse" (Murray Grand) for a light-hearted twist.
"Moonlight in Vermont" (Karl Suessdorf)
"Wood River" (Connie Kaldor) - Saskatchewan [Willi Zwozdesky, arr. SSAA]
"Shenandoah" (trad.) - Virginia
"Wairua Tapu" (Wehi Whanau) - New Zealand/Maori 
"Watching the Apples Grow" (Stan Rogers) - Ontario
"The Williams Lake Stampede" (Alan Moberg) - BC
"Springtime in Alberta" (Ian Tyson) -- requires a vocalist
"Four Strong Winds" (Ian Tyson) - Alberta
"New York, New York" (Kander & Ebb)
"Red River Valley" (trad.) - NDakota-Manitoba
"Ohio" (Leonard Bernstein from Wonderful Town) -- duet+ 
"Chicago" (Fred Fisher)
"Moon over Miami" (Burke & Leslie)
"The City of New Orleans" (Steve Goodman)
"Girl from Ipanema" (Jobim, Antonio Carlos) - Brazil
"Hawaiian Love Song" (Charles King)
"This Land is Your Land" (Woody Guthrie) - easy to make up verses to fit your needs, used worldwide 
"Carolina Moon" (Burke & Davis)
"Tennessee Waltz" (Pee Wee King)
"Uti vår hage" (Alfvén) - Götland
"I Love Paris" (Cole Porter)
"The Happy Wanderer" (Friedrich-Wilhelm Möller) Germany & English - lyrics in many translations
"Minoi, Minoi" (Christopher, Marshall) - Samoa/Hawaii
on April 1, 2014 12:15pm
Thank you for your suggestions.  I've ordered a copy of Eleanor Daley's The Lake Isle of Innisfree for us to have a look at.  Its really lovely and right up our street I am sure.  I am also inspired by "Wairua Tapu" (Wehi Whanau) - New Zealand/Maori  but I can't find any music for it at all.  Can anyone help with that?
We are also going for" I Love Paris" and  "California Dreaming" which is already in our repotoire and we forgot about it.  I also think we have to give New York New York a try, can't believe we didn't think about that one.
Any other ideas?  We are looking for lighter music and we are in the UK
on April 2, 2014 4:44am
For "Wairua Tapu" you want to contact Karen Grylls:  She conducts it on the recording "Gaude/Rejoice" by the Tower New Zealand Youth Choir.
I believe she has been doing some work with the Toronto Children's Choir, and believe they also performed it too, so working through them might also be a way to find her/it.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on April 7, 2014 5:36am
New York State of Mind by Billy Joel. There is a nice arrangement of this published by Hal Leonard I think?
on April 1, 2014 2:39pm
Two more Tom Chapin songs are the general "This Pretty Planet"  (...."spinning in space, you're a harbor, your a garden, you're a holy place.  Golden sun going down; gentle blue giant , spinus a round.  All through the night; safe 'til the morning light.")  On one of his CDs, he sings this in a 3 part round with Judy Collins and a children's choir.
The other one is "Family Tree":  "My Gandpa came from Russia, my Grandma came from Prussia; They met in Nova Scotia, had my dad in Tennessee.  They moved to Yokohama, where Daddy met my Mama.  Her Dad's from Alabama and her Mom's part Cherokee."  Chorus:  "We're a family, and we're a tree. Our roots go deep down in history.  From my Great-great-grandmother reaching up to me, we're a green and growing Family Tree."  There are sign language movements for the chorus, too.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on April 2, 2014 9:50am
Here are a couple of other easy titles that might suit you:
Pokarekare Ana (Maori love song, SAA)
Minnie O'Shirva's Cradle Sang (lullaby from the Shetland Islands in the north of Scotland, SSAA)
I'd also be very happy to adapt any SATB Canasg Music title that you see for SSA.      
Sheena Phillips
on April 6, 2014 10:55am
"Red River Valley" was suggested--what a great song about places and migration!  It was collected as a cowboy song from the Red River Valley of Texas in 1935 by John Lomax, but may have been derived from a popular song "Bright Mohawk Valley", published in 1896, about leaving NY state to go west.  On the other hand, one or both of those may have come from earlier versions from the Red River Valley of the North, and from Canada.   The song was later adapted with new words about a Spanish Civil War battle by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger; by British paratroopers in WW2; and by American pilots in Vietnam.  See Wikipedia.
on April 7, 2014 4:10am
Dear Jo,
I have an SA a cappella setting of "Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon", a famous Robert Burns song about a place in Scotland. It's at
This arrangement may be used freely for non-profit purposes (i.e. where the performers are not receiving a fee or salary for their work, and any concert admission fees go to charity). Please give credit in the programme, and provide a link to if possible.
For all other purposes, please order full copies (£1 each) or a PDF personalised to your choir (£15/$25, and you can print as many copies as you want). If your budget is tight, email me to discuss and we can work something out.
To place an order, please contact chris(a)
on April 7, 2014 6:01am
Afton Water
Loch Lomond
In Praise of Isla
Skye Boat Song
Birks of Aberfeldy
are all treble chorus arrangements of Scottish tunes of mine, published by Boosey & Hawkes.  I have two more Scottish songs with Boosey & Hawkes, which are not so much 'of place' but of the sentiment of remembrance (Ae Fond Kiss & Auld Lang Syne).  All of these songs are suitable for varying levels of chorus. Some are accompanied. They range from unison to three part. Two also have SATB versions.
Lee Kesselman
on April 7, 2014 1:40pm
A huge thanks for all the suggestions.  We are still in the process of sorting out the final running order but lots of your suggestions will be going in.  Thanks :)
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