TTBB: Tried and true Holiday favorites with instruments
Here are the responses that I received regarding "tried and true" Men's
Chorus Holiday Literature with instruments. Thank you to all who responded!
Paul J. Raheb
Director of Choral Activities
Golden West High School
1717 N. McAuliff Road
Visalia, CA 93292
(O): 559.730.7818 ext. 127
My chorus did the male chorus version of Daniel Pinkham's Christmas Cantata
a couple of years ago, and it was lots of fun. You can do it with organ,
organ and brass quartet or brass octet. We even recorded it (on a Gothic CD
called Sing we Noel) and when I sent a copy to Dan (he was a professor of
mine in graduate school), he said he'd never even heard the male choir
version of the piece before! Anyway, I really like it. And I think it
would work well with the other pieces you have programmed.
Another extended work worth doing is Conrad Susa's Carols and Lullabies
(Christmas in the Southwest). It's also an SATB work that the composer
reworked for male chorus, but it's quite idiomatic. There's guitar, marimba
and harp, along with a few solos. There are, I think, 10 movements--8 in
Spanish and 2 in Catalan. You could do any or all of them in English
translations that are in the score. And you could do some of the movements
rather than the whole work.
Another piece of Conrad's that I like is A Christmas Garland, which has
accompaniment in various version, from full orchestra down to keyboard.
It's a medley of familiar Christmas carols, but with lots of clever bridge
passages and interesting takes on familiar tunes.
Here are some suggestions for your men's chorus Christmas program. There
are many more on my web site: http://mustec.bgsu.edu/~wallace . "Canons for
Xmas comes in a set of four canons. All of the other pieces mentioned are
briefly described. "Sing Dem Herrn" is an unbeatable processional to begin
a program and the title "A Xmas Processional could be, "A Xmas Recessional.
It is stunning with hand-held percussion instruments. If any of these
pieces interest you, please send me an e-mail for a perusal copy. For "Sing
Dem Herrn" you must notify Warner Brothers.
Wallace De Pue
Picardie Court Publications
The levels of difficulty are from 1 (easy) to 5 (difficult). Each piece
bears a number. Underlining indicates the actual title of the piece under
consideration. A title bearing an asterisk indicates that a recording is
available upon request. An underlined number, i.e., (#), indicates
inclusion in ChoralNet.
CANONS FOUR CHRISTMAS is a set of four canons that appear in order if all
are to be performed. Each canon may be performed independently of the
others, depending on what is needed for proper programming:
1. AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS (two voices, violin, optional cider jug &
washboard) is a canon between two voices that may be accompanied by a
fiddler who can play "Turkey in the Straw"; however, nearly any treble
instrument may be used. It is a secular piece to fit between sacred pieces
for the sake of variety. The text is:
We'll have an old-fashioned country kind of Christmas.
We'll get some visitin' from lots of folks who've missed us.
We'll tell the Hatfields and McCoys to bring each other's children toys,
then we'll play guitars and fiddles like a
bunch of good old boys.
We'll have some turkey and dumplins for our vittles. There'll be a lot
of good stuff cookin' in our kittles.
We'll dress the Christmas tree up right, and join in singin' "Silent
Night," then we'll sit around the fireplace watchin'
yule logs give off light.
The vocal ranges are: voice 1, C1-e2; voice 2, c-E1. (2:00) #easy
2. THE LITTLE KING is a simple retelling of the Christmas story set in a
multi-verse canon. Contrast between the mood of the verses will help to
determine musical interpretation. The text is:
Hey, little king, where is your crown? Are your royal subjects out of town?
Is your manger the throne of Bethlehem? Hey, little king, smile on me with
Hey, little king, at twelve years old, you will preach God's commandments to
You will be the king of Galilee. Hey, little king, smile on me with your
Hey, little king, on the cross you'll die as the soldiers are laughing while
You will be the king of Golgatha. If only they knew, they would stand in awe
of your power.
Hey, little king, you'll rise again, and you'll be the king who'll judge our
We'll be on our knees when we meet our end. Hey, little king,
Hey, little king, smile on me, I'm your friend.
This piece is good to use in church and charming to sing in concert. (1:20)
3. WIND SONGS (double chorus: voices 1-2-3 only, or with voices A-B-C). The
choir director may arrange this Christmas canon in a variety of ways. It may
be performed upside-down in its original form. The text is:
In December, cold winds, sounding much like voices, say "Christ is coming
soon." Merry Christmas!
The voice range is: C1-f2. (0:30, minimum) medium difficulty
4. I THINK IT'S CHRISTMAS (SATB four-part canon) is one a single page, but
it contains a contrary canon, two perpetual canons, a cancrizan and a triple
canon! In other words, it is open to numerous different arrangements and
can take as much time to sing as is desired for a program offering. The
tempo is "vivace" in 7/8 meter. The soprano part is a "round." The alto
part is the soprano part, upside down. The tenor is a "cancrizan" if
performed with the alto. Regardless of the analysis, this "contemporary"
piece of music is an audience delight. The text is:
Snowballs flying through the air; time for heavy underwear; red and green
are everywhere; I think it's Christmas!
And even though there's little time to spare, there's a feeling people care;
folks are trying hard to share;
I think it's Christmas!
All little children find it hard to bear, waiting for a day so rare. Once a
year is hardly fair to think of Christmas.
Christmas is coming and all people are waiting for its love for all nations.
The voice ranges are: soprano, D1-f2; alto, D1-c2; tenor Eb1-f2; and bass, a
flat-C1.(0:45, minimum) #3-
*CHRISTMAS PROCESSIONAL CANON, A (any combination of six voices with an SATB
coda) was written for approaching a concert stage while singing. Any
hand-held instruments may be used while walking to the stage. The music is
designed to cause voices to transfer octaves for the sake of respective
ranges. The rhythmic effect of the technique is fascinating. The text is:
'Twas once upon a Christmas night like this, when the son of God came down
to Earth, to dwell among us all, as a common man, and give us a second
birth. May we, through lives of harmony, enrapture those who've never
learned to recognize Him "King of All Mankind," until He has returned. We
recognize Him "King of All Mankind," and worship Him with love and praise.
The vocal ranges are: soprano, C1-a2; alto, C1-d2; tenor, written C1-f2;
bass, c-D1. (2:10) #3
AVE RARLA (unison singing) is a Telugu Song from India. A familiar Indian
melody was adapted to Christian lyrics and an astounding, monophonic choral
piece resulted. Ave Rarla is a "line song" between a soloist and a choral
ensemble. Any vocal combination is acceptable, but the piece should only be
sung in the original language. The following English translation is included
in the score:
Boundless love of God above, sent to Earth for mankind. Ah, yes, this is
Foretold in scripture, pure promise of God, so sure.
Love's perfect treasure, He gives new to us. Ah, yes, this is our joy!
All the world is filled with the glorious news!
Christ, the savior is born to free us, though in manger lowly he is
Prince, ruler, lord and master, he will be. Ah, yes, this is our joy!
A good rendition of this work has an amazing effect upon an audience. #3
*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. As a processional, this piece is tops! This piece is a
"best seller" for Warner Brothers. The vocal range is C1-e2. #2
* My e-mail address is wallace(a)bgnet.bgsu.edu *
* My homepage is located at http://mustec.bgsu.edu/~wallace *
Vierdanck's Lo, I Bring Tidings
We programmed Durufle's Messe Cum Jubilo with the Britten, and it worked
marvelously. The rhythms we be a bit of a challenge to your guys, but a
great opportunity to teach them, and the part is unison, so that will help.
Also has great opportunites for a baritone/bass, and tenor soloist.
Shawnee Press has a WONDERFUL version of "It's the Most Wonderful Time
of the Year" for TTBB. It's a nice way to teach syncopation as well
as fast waltz rhythms. You'll need a pretty good pianist to accompany
it, as I recall.
I´m a German Composer. On my website www.compovista.com (see under
"Chöre/Kompositionen-Arrangements" and look at the Editionslist) there are
many songs for your need.
PDF files (demo scores) are there for download with Acrobat 4.0 or 5.05 (not
5.0, it´s wrong!).
1. "Peces", a spanish Christmas song
2. "Holy Night"
3. "Born In Nazareth" (my own song and text - if you are interested I´m able
to arrange the song for TTBB)
All songs are useful for Christmas and I can arrange them for TTBB as soon
as possible (if the original demo score is not for TTBB).
Specifically for men, I would recommend:
Papir iz Doch Vais (Yiddish love song)
Jacobson, Joshua, arr.
Format:Solo (Med), TTBB, Optional SSA Soli)
Lewandowski, Louis/Jacobson, Joshua, ed.
Format:Solo (Med), TTBB, Optional Organ
Might I suggest that you try our web site at http://www.jaymar.com and
search for work's by men's chorus.
Hope some of our publications might fit your needs. If you order single
copies, we will place them online in PDF format for you to download and
Peter J. Martin
Jaymar Music Limited