Music for the Football team to sing
Thanks to all of you who responded to my request for suggestions! Many good
ideas were recommended, along with a fair share of "wish that coach was at MY
school" messages. The recommendations follow the original posting, below.
>Our high school football team uses my middle school Choir room for meeting
>space from August through November. Last year, the varsity football coach
>asked me to spend 15-20 minutes a day with the team during two-a-days,
>teaching them to sing together. His goal was to have a song learned well
>enough for them to sing in Chapel by the end of football season. He wanted
>them to learn teamwork through an activity that might "be outside the comfort
>zone of some of these players," as he put it. We used Ken Jennings' "Rise Up
>o Men of God.". About half the players didn't read music, so they sang the
>tune throughout, while the music readers added the harmony parts.
>This was such a successful (I could write a book of anecdotes!) endeavor,
>that the coach wants to do it again this year. He's aiming for the Star
>Spangled Banner, "to knock the socks off the opposing team at the sideline,
>before the game even starts," and I think I can come up with a workable
>arrangement of this, but I'm struggling with the Chapel anthem. What do you
>The song needs to have strong energy, but simple harmony - probably not more
>than 3 parts, and TB is better, since the offensive line has several good
>basses and the backfield holds at least a couple of decent tenors. 'Easy to
>learn' is a priority. Since we are a Christian school, sacred text is
>preferred, but a good inspiring secular text is fine. I should probably also
>mention that the coach wants a "select few" learn a setting of the Swedish
>hymn "Thy Holy Wings", so we'll have a slow, pretty selection for contrast.
>The whole team needs to sing one song together with gusto and confidence,
>however, and I am eager to know what you think this should be!
One suggestion I have is Faithful Men by Twila Paris. Joseph Linn arranged
this for both TTBB and TB within the collection which bears the same name,
Faithful Men. This collection is completely TB and TTBB. The arrangements for
TTBB are in the front half of the book while the same pieces with TB
arrangements are the second part of the book. Publisher is WORD and the call
number is: 3010271018
"We shall walk through the valley in peace" arranged for TTBB by Appling.
Though this is a slower ballad-type anthem, it is easy, effective and
dramatic. It does have some 4-part, but the voice leading is excellent. It is
a World Library Publication. I have gotten it through regular distributors,
but the company phone is 1-800-566-6150. Make sure to ask about the TTBB
setting (they also publish an SATB version). I have used this arrangement to
great success with a group with limited abilities, and limited rehearsal.
Another suggestion: How about the traditional setting of "Ride the Chariot"?
It is a Kjos publication for TTBB (easy parts, and repetitious) arranged by
William Henry Smith.
"How Can I Keep From Singing?" arr. Brad Ellingboe, TTB, Kjos, would fit the
bill although it would take some finesse and I wouldn't necessarily call it
"easy" - I think that would be pretty appropriate though, a bunch of
footballers singing "No storm can shake my inmost calm..." - perhaps you could
use some solos on the verses and just teach the refrains to all.
The musical "Good News" has a good spirited Football song. The title is "Keep
Your Sunny Side Up" The players sing it at half time of the 'Big Game'. There
may be a good fight song in there somewhere as well as the opening number -
You may want to consider "Brother's Sing On", the Swedish Folksong by Edvard
(This is a wonderful piece but the TTB is POP according to Pepper.)
Nothing wrong with making the Jennings arr. a tradition. Martin Shaw's "With
A Voice of Singing" should be available TTBB and would be easy to simplify to
3 parts with lots of unison here and there. But it is accompanied. If your
coach has a little of that athletic money lying around, you might consider
commissioning a song that meets all the criteria you mentioned, plus any other
themes the students might come up with.
(Note: Coach says he has $15 to spare we needed new helmets this year.)
*SING DEM HERRN (5-voice canon) is published by Warner Brothers; the order
number is SV8640. Michael Praetorius composed this canon for 2 to 5 voices in
any combination, and Wallace De Pue arranged it. Both English and German
texts are present.
Have you thought of doing an arrangement of the navy hymn? I've always liked
its strength and if you told the boys about its significance....
Try Tallis Canon, which I believe can be found in the service music section of
the Episcopal Hymnal. It can be sung through with the first verse in unison,
then sung in a canon in 2 parts, 3 parts or 4 parts. The final verse is the
Our favorites come out of 2 bookswell worth the money spent. "Singing Men",
and "Singing Men II" are wonderful arrangements by Jack Schrader. Some are 2
part, some are 3 or 4. The National anthem is great (it's in the 1st one)and
not that hard at all.
A couple of musical suggestions: "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "My Country
'Tis of Thee," "When the Roll is Called up Yonder," "Stand Up, Stand Up for
Jesus," "Onward Christian Soldiers," "Once to Every Man and Nation," "Blow
that Trumpet Gabriel" (ttb, by Patti Dewitt - this is a fantastic piece!). All
the hymns could be sung with just melody and bass and/or alto line.
Ev'ry Night When The Sun Goes Down, TB, arr. Shawn Berry, Santa Barbara Music
Down in the Valley, TB, arr. Shawn Berry, Santa Barbara Music 510
Rosalee, TTB, Dave/Jean Perry, Jenson/Hal Leonard 42318041
Workin' on the Railroad, TTB, arr. Don Moore, Belwin/Warner Bros. SV9438
There's a beautiful work for TTB boys, Tollite Hostias, by Saint-SaensLatin
text. Really beautiful, not difficult music parts, but I don't know if it's a
bit much for your guys. It's Brilee Music BL193, arr. by Linda Mulder.
Just for fun, when they want to sing something fun get Billy Joel's song "For
the Longest Time"I think it's published by Hal Leonard. The guys just love
ithas a great solo for a tenor, and the rest sing back up
Is Viva La Mour too spirited, rowdy and not appropriate? Linda Spevacek has an
easy arrangement for men.
I'll suggest the hymn "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less" (The Solid Rock) to
the tune Melita (which is also the tune for the Navy Hymn, "Eternal Father").
The men of the choir at my church are doing it this Sunday, in fact, in a
fairly simple arrangement for unison or TBB. The arrangement is an unpublished
one by Jim Williams, our director, and he might be willing to send you a copy.
His e-mail address is jjerome(a)vistatech.net (he composes under the name J.
Jerome Williams). Or you could just sing it from the Lutheran hymnal, which
has that particular tune/text pairing (it prints that text twice, using
different tunes). This a tune/text that sounds great when sung with gusto.
You may be looking for something a little faster, but this one is very strong
and powerful, I think.
How about "Onward, Christian Soldiers"!!
Jo Anne Taylor
Fine Arts Department Chair
Minnehaha Academy Minneapolis, MN
(612)721-3359, ext 2031