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Celebrating Life

Thank you to all who made suggestions regarding music to celebrate life. I
could program a year's worth of concerts on this topic thanks to the many
emails I received. You are great!

Jonathan A. Palant
DMA Student/ACDA Chapter President
Michigan State R&S Chair, Male Choirs
Michigan State University
1600 Town Commons Drive #207
Howell, MI 48855
(216) 905-8018

My Spirit Sang All Day
Gerald Finzi
text: Robert Bridges

This song is the third in a cycle of Bridges' songs, all published

Boosey and Hawkes M-060-03039-0

Sue Ellen Page
To celebrate life, I'd go for subjects like dance, love, work songs,
maybe drinking songs, festive songs, songs of praise, and songs about
seasons and the natural world. There are probably repertoire lists
for most of these subjects on Choralnet.

In the line of praise, I'd recommend Psalm 150, of which there are
many fine settings. One of my favorites is Salmo by Aguiar

I also attach a review copy of a composition that I wrote in response
to a recent call for scores from Chicago A Cappella, entitled 'Great
is life', based on Walt Whitman. Please let me know if you decide to
use the piece; I'd be delighted of course.
Sheena Phillips
Hi Jonathan. This is in response to your post on Choralnet. I know you'll
probably get a bunch of these types of responses, but...I've got a few
pieces that I've written that may fit your request.

I was commissioned to write a piece last summer, and the same theme of
celebrating life was suggested for it. I had a poem in my files that I had
sketched a few ideas for already ("Lines Composed In A Wood on a Windy Day"
by Anne Bronte), so I used that one. The first line became the title of my a
cappella setting: "My Soul Is Awakened". It fits the theme perfectly, and
the piece was premiered last fall. You can hear a recording of the live
premier on (recording and performance are not
perfect, but the general idea gets across) and you can see the poem there as
well, using the "Lyrics" link on the mini-player on the page.

The other part of your post that caught my attention was that you were
considering something SATB + string quartet. I have a piece that I wrote for
my HS choir this year called "Peace Comes From Understanding," but I'm
planning on premiering it in spring 2007. So I'm not sure I would hand it
off to anyone else just yet. It may not interest you anyway because I wrote
the text myself. Never did that before, but I figured, what the heck.

So, if either of these things intrigues you, let me know, please.

Also, if you're only interested in pieces that have been say...published? I
could only think of one piece off the top of my head: "Barter" by Rene
Clausen, but that is for SSA with piano.

Thanks and good luck,
Brad Burrill
I believe a recent composition of mine fits your bill perfectly. The score
for "A Psalm of Life" can be seen and a recording heard at - - Please play the
midi-recording....the live recording is not very good. Also, a piece of
"remembrance" is "In Flanders Fields" at -

Contact me directly if either of these works are of interest to you.

Brad Nelson, Composer
San Diego, CA
(619) 463-5316
You might consider the four works in my Hopkins series, Being, Peace,
Beauty, and Grandeur. The first and last were commissioned and premiered
by the Dale Warland Singers in the ensemble's final season. Peace was
composed while I was a Rome Prize recipient (2003), just after the Iraq
war had begun.

I would be happy to have them sent your way. Contact me or Jule Pedersen
at The Newmatic Press.



Mark Kilstofte
I have just finished a "bright" work for the above combination (circa
6'30") for my wife's university choir & my son's professional string
quartet - meant to be premiered in August in South Africa. It was
written as a possible companion piece to the Monteverdi "Beatus Vir"
(which she's also doing). The piece is a partial setting of the
Magnificat with some climactic choral writing at various points
(opening, closing, etc) - and have immediately written a version for
string quintet (i.e. with bass) or string orchestra - as well as a
piano transcription of it too.
I have done it in Sibelius v.3 - should you have access to that. Lemme
Kind regards


Dr Peter Louis van Dijk
Norman Della Joio A JUBILANT SONG
Richard Clark
Can I be so forward as to suggest my set of songs entitled 'Songs of Life
and Love': four settings for SATB (nos 1 and 4); TBarB (No.2) and SSAA
(No.3) and Piano. These were commissioned for an All-District Choir in St
Louis, Missouri. They are three settings of British folk songs (including a
storming version of the North East English folksong 'Dance to your Daddy')
and one original version of an an anonymous text about marriage ('If ever I

If you are interested let me know and I will send you a .pdf of Nos 1 and 3
(" and 4 are published as separate octavos by Alliance Music, Houston, TX).

Best wishes,

Stuart McIntosh
For a piece celebrating life, you may be interested in my SATB (a cappella)
setting of The Tree by 19th Century American transcendental poet Jones Very.
The Tree was composed at the 2003 Oxford Summer Institutes at Lehigh, where
I worked with Bob Chilcott and where the piece received a reading by the
Princeton Singers under the direction of Steven Sametz. It was premiered in
2004 by the American University Chamber Singers, who later performed the
piece on tour in Washington, DC, Toronto, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg &
environs in October 2004. It was performed in Chicago and Evanston,
Illinois, by the ensemble Coriolis in May 2005, and has been performed this
year in Seattle and Kansas City. You may hear two performances on my website

The complete text is below and a pdf file of the score is attached.
Information about my other choral works is available on my website, where
you may listen to performances of many of the works. I would be pleased to
send a hardcopy of the score and/or the CD by regular mail, if you are

My music has been performed across the United States and in Canada,
Australia and Europe. Capstone Records recently released the Ars Brunensis
Chorus recording of From the Odes of Solomon on CD. My Suite from Razumov,
for clarinet and string quartet, was awarded the Masterworks Prize by ERM
Media and was recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic for release on the
“Masterworks of the New Era” CD series. String Trio for George Crumb,
commissioned by the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, was premiered
by the Third Angle New Music Ensemble in July 2004 and reprised in April
2005 in Chicago by the Accessible Contemporary Music Ensemble. My choral
works have been performed by such award-winning ensembles as Seattle Pro
Musica, The Esoterics, Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble, and the Oregon Repertory
Singers, and have also received readings by the Gregg Smith Singers at the
Adirondack Festival of American Music.

Greg Bartholomew
Email: info(a)
Consider "I Will Sing of Life - Adolphus Hailstork" Theodore Presser
312-41644. It is #1 from Five Short Choral Works. #5 "The Lamb" 312-41648
might also work for your theme. If I think of other things I'll let you
know. This is just a quick response.

Brainerd Blyden-Taylor
The piece "Nia" by Glenn Burleigh is a wonderful piece that celebrates life
and how we are to live our lives.


Stephen Holmes
If you're willing to consider young contemporary composers, I have three
works for SATB choir: "Press Onward" (set to the poem Press Onward by
Christina Rossetti), "Salmo 100" (Psalm 100 set in Portuguese; very lively),
and "i thank you God for most this amazing life" (set to ee cummings poem).
I would be more than happy to send you perusal scores. Also, there are some
sound files on my website at

Most sincerely,
Amy Scurria
There is a piece by Ysaye M. Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock that I like
to use, called "We Are...." It's a cappella, for five parts, and the text
is very life-affirming: "For each child that's born, a morning star rises
and sings to the universe who we are..." It goes on from there. It has a
dreamlike quality to it.

Here's the publisher info: The Musical Source, YMB109-2, SATB with solo

Best of luck in your search,

Ann Foster
"Sure on This Shining Night." Best example of secular celebration EVER.

Amelia N.
How about Eric Whitacre's Three Songs of Faith
(settings of e.e.cummings texts):

i will wade out
hope, faith, life, love
i thank you god

We did these on our England Scotland tour last spring/summer and the choir
loved them. I'm sure there are plenty more - this popped into my head right
away since I'm looking at another Whitacre now, but I just wanted to say
right away!
Mitos Andaya
The Promise of Living from The Tender Land by Copland

on June 11, 2006 10:00pm
A life-celebrating setting of e e cummins' "i thank you God" by Elliot Z. Levine of The Western Wind ensemble. SSATTB acappella My chorus loves it. It uses a neat back-beat melody, and the parts play off one another. He has also recently done SSAA and accompanied versions.
on July 30, 2006 10:00pm
Adorable Flujo (Adorable Cosmic Flow) by Paul Basler (Gabriel Navar, text) celebrates life throughout the ages. Rhythmic, energetic and fun. SATB with piano and horn - walton music.
on August 13, 2006 10:00pm
"How to be Happy" has been set for SATB chorus with piano accompaniment plus an added tambourine part by Charles Jason Bechtold. Key of Bb/C major with a quick, happy tempo in 4/4 meter. Sopranos have a few G?s and one of the ranges are moderate. Clever text. $1.60 per octavo.

Please order through
For more information on the composer check out
on October 17, 2006 10:00pm
BIRD, FROG AND TREE CLUB, THE See choral pieces to be performed with instruments for text
on January 27, 2008 10:00pm
I Praise by awarding winning composer, William Neil sets a beautiful text by the former US poet laureate, Mark Strand. The piece for SATB was inspired by the return of Neil's son from his final deployment in Iraq. Here is a link to sampe the piece:

You may contact the composer if you are interested in programming the piece.
on April 24, 2013 3:36am
This program celebrates singing!
"With a Voice of Singing"
Te Deum Laudamus in D Major, Z. 232    Henry Purcell      (c.1659-1695)                                                
Make Ye Joy to God All the Earth                         William Byrd     (c. 1539-1623)
Jubilate Deo                                                   Orlando di Lasso (c. 1532-1594)
Hail, Judea, Happy Land                  Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Hallelujah, Amen (from Judas Maccabeus, HWV 63)                                Jauchzet dem Herrn                         Felix Mendelssohn        (1809-1847)
My Spirit Sang All Day                        Gerald Finzi (1901-1956)
Hark, All Ye Lovely Saints Above                  Thomas Weelkes   (1574-1623)
With a Voice of Singing                    Kenneth Jennings (b. 1925)
With a Voice of Singing                             Martin Shaw (1875-1958)