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SSA or SSAA: Christmas (secular)


Thanks to those who responded to my question. I asked for suggestions for
secular Christmas literature for SSA chorus. I asked for pieces which "had a
little meat on them". In a few of the suggestions I received I question the
amount of "meat", but I will report them nonetheless. The following are the
suggestions - comments are from the person making the suggestion.

"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"
Tchaikovsky arr Jeff Funk
This is terrific. Go to the Pepper website to hear it.
There's a lot of meat on this one.

"Simple Song of Peace"
Jerry Estes
It begins as 2-part, then breaks into SSA.
The lyrics are about peace, and include sections of Dona Nobis Pacem.

"The Bells"
text by Edgar Allen Poe
music by Lon Beery
It is for 3-part mixed. The 3rd part doesn't go below A, but it is notated
in the bass clef.
The song speaks of winter, but no specific holiday.
My students loved singing the word "tintinabulation."

This is WINTER, not specifically Christmas:

Edward Elgar, "The Snow" ; SSA and two violins. Gorgeous, not too
Winter Cantata by Vincent Persichetti
(the 3 movement excerpt, available separately from the full 17(?)
movements is especially nice)
Why don't you have a look at "Past Three O'Clock" arranged by Culloton,
Mark Foster - MF0931. I have found it useful.
Balulalow by Peter Tiefenbach Augsburg Fortress press 11-10496 - easy
opening melody, gorgeous 3 part harmony on the refrain. easily learned
and beautiful, not too sacred sounding

also: Make a Wish for me on Christmas - great for kids
Deck the Halls (in 7/8), James McKelvy, Mark Foster MF0953.

A Wealden Trio, Benjamin Britten, Faber Music.

Noel des enfants qui n'ont plus de maisons, Debussy, Elkan-Vogel 352-03415.

Two Songs of Winter, R. Vaughan Williams, Oxford 54.263.

Carol of the Bells, Leontovich/Wilhousky, Carl Fischer.

Carol from an Irish Cabin, Dale Wood, Schmitt, Hall & McCreary SCHCH 00353.
Naomi Stephen, Gloria in Excelsis Yeltsin Rhodes music (
That is the entire text, no deo. I wrote it that way knowing anybody can
lift a voice in praise. Perhaps it might fit what you are looking for.
Winter Changes David Brunner Boosey&Hawkes with piano

Water Under Snow is Weary Harri Wessman Walton Music SSA w/
piano and obbligato flute.
I LOVE the opening flute solo, it is so fierce and angular...and the
choir comes in afterward with a new theme that is calm and slightly jazz
oriented, and very accessible. This is sophisticated and a wonderful work.

Shchedrik Leontovich Musica Russica (original text of Carol
of the Bells, actually a much neater piece in its original language! you
can buy a pron. tape from them.) a cappella

Snowfall Thornhill SSAA jazz (like Manhattan Transfer) on Hal
Leonard. with piano
very nice chords.

Wassailin' arr. Noble Treble Clef Music SSAA a cappella.
this is hard, but really fun! It takes Wassail, wassail, all over
the town tune and puts it into a jazz waltz. fun!

Kalanta of the New Year Malcom Dalglish nice! Plymouth...(although
they are a different publisher now...I think Alliance, but don't quote me.)
written for children's choir, but I think it works.

only slightly sacred
try Pinkhams Evergreen on ECS Publ. It is a single line, has a variety
of instruments that can be played in an 4 bar ostinato, and an
electronic tape that is really nifty, sounds like twinkling lights, if
lights could make sound, that is! The accomp can be piano, guitar,
harpsichord, harp, handbells, or just about anything you like in any
combination. It is a unique piece and worth working on. Although it is
unison, the rhythms and pitches give the choir PLENTY to work on.
Slightly avante garde, but in a very pretty and easily accessible way
for the audience.

If you want to do some Channukah music I recommend:

S'vivon arr Michael Braz Hinshaw SSA w piano. Outstanding
rhythms, good piano part.
Here is a tune I found some years back that my community group just LOVES!
The publisher, DemiQ is very generous with copying guiidelines (I think I
bought it for my group back in 2002 and the liscence printed on the music
says we have liscence to copy until 2007!). The price is very reasonable

Thanks again to all who suggested titles.


Terry Sanford
Hixson High School
Chattanooga, TN