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TTBB: Male choir reading session literature

Subject: Male reading session

I am doing a reading session for Men's choirs at the state ICDA conference... school/church/adult any voicing. Does anyone have any new "must do!" selections to recommend? Do you feel that 'everyone knows' the Bartholmew Chantys and the Testament of Freedom or might that be helpful? I'll post a compilation if there is sufficient response.

Michael Wade
First Congregational Church
Elkhart, In

Thanks to all who responded to my request for male literature to put on a reading session! Many mentioned IMC. Below are the fruits of the request.

Michael S. Wade
Elkhart, In

1. I think Testament is known or has been done by most male chorus directors (certainly the 1st movement). The Chanteys aren't quite as well known. I would recommend anything by Mark Hayes, and Yelton Rhodes Music( and Santa Barbara Music Publishing ( have a good selection of men's chorus settings. JWPepper also is a good reference, especially for TB or 3 part men's arrangements (although I wish their search engine was a bit easier and consistent). Also you might carefully consider some SSA/SSAA/multi-part-any-voicing pieces (check that the alto isn't written too low for the basses which can make the piece muddy--the S1 usually doesn't go too high for Tenors.) You can also use SSA with men in SOME CASES by putting your middle voices on S1, lower voices on S2 and have T1s sing the alto line on the actual pitch (again, check the ranges). This usually puts a harmony part above the melody, but that can add a wondeful "spark" to the piece (think barbershop quartet!)

2. Are you familiar with my new edition for TTB choir and orchestra
(strings, horns, oboes) "In Exitu Israel" by Giovanni Grazioli
(organist at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice ca. 1800) published by Santa
Barbara Music Publishing, SBMP752? This piece was used during the ACDA
Eastern Division Men's Choir reading session in Hartford this past
February. You can see (and hear) this piece by going to:

are you familiar with my (Martin Banner) two TTBB (a cappella) editions by the early 19th Century composer Carl Czerny, "Beatus Vir" (CV15-96720) and "Adjutor Meus" (CV15-96725), both published by Colla Voce Music? Finally, you may be interested in taking a look at my edition of "Credo a 3" for TTB, strings and horns by Padre Martini (HMB2059), published by Hinshaw Music.

3. yes, I feel that everyone knows those two sets, but there is always a new generation so I guess the "everyone" translates to us old guys Ethan Sperry's Ramkali Raga has been the big hit of men's choruses everywhere. I think it is published now - we did it while it was still in Ethan's manuscript. It is a wonderful piece and fulfills so many programming areas - multi-cultural- big opener or closer - not too difficult, great text with interesting ideas to engage students and adults.

My wife's arrangement of "Oh, What a pretty little baby" is published by E.C. Schirmer and is REALLY easy and can be taught to anybody - it is a bullet proof piece. It works best with a great soloist. (sent by P. Gardner)

Church and school conductors would love the Mendelssohn "Beati mortui" and"Periti Autem" - both included in the IMC library in clear, correct editions. University guys who want to dig in for some real challenges should look at Volker Wangenheim's O Quam Pulchi or if they are very brave the others in his set of six Psalms for Men's chorus.

Joseph Gregorio's "Dona Nobis Pacem" is another lovely piece. Fulfills the same basic programming ideals as the Biebl "Ave Maria' slow unfolding of one or two chords - big emotive fff just before the end on beautifully voice chord.

Oh, you should contact Paul Rardin at the University of Michigan as well. Paul is also a member of IMC and he has published some new arrangements that are pretty cool - everything from great works for university directors to some spirituals and Jamacain pieces, Cuban pieces - he has been a busy guy and he also has lots of thoughts on repertoire.

4. Peter Lutkin's "The Lord Bless You and Keep You"' "I'd Enter Your Garden"'s Prayer (this version is SATB but I will soon have it arranged for TTBB)
Craig C. Hawkins

5. I teach middle and high school boys so these pieces are coming from that perspective) Some of these are not necessarily new either.

Cindy - arr. Earlene Rentz TB
The Winds of Change - Patti Drennan TTB (Alliance)
I've Got Peace Like A River - arr. D. Shawn Berry TBB (Santa Barbara) - this is a fantastic arrangement that weaves together "I've Got Peace Like A River" and the O Waly Waly tune.
Clementine - arr. Eliot TB (BriLee)
Ose Shalom - arr. Leavitt TTB (Hal Leonard)
A Roving - arr. Parks TTB (Alfred)

6. Intercollegiate Men's Choruses, an association of collegiate and secondary male choruses in the US and Canada. At our recent National Seminar in Washington DC we had 2 all-male choir reading sessions -- a list of selections is available for download at our website,
You also might take a look at the IMC LIbrary, a selection of over 100 unpublished male choir reading sessions available for duplication free of charge by IMC member choruses.

8. Consort Press, music by John Biggs
male chorus
CP 044....BETHLEHEM DOWN (TTB) 3 min. $1.25
CP 005f...EL PADRE NUESTRO "Our Father" Anonymous (TTBB) 2.5 min. (in
Spanish) $1.00
CP 010....FOUR HYMNS (unison chorus, w/organ or piano) 4 min. $1.00
CP 026....GLORIA (2 part men &/or women w/org. or pno.) 3.5 min. (in
Latin) $1.25
CP 021....LOVE SONGS IN THE ROUND (three part equal - men or women) 5
min. $1.50
CP 406....PATER NOSTER "Our Father" (R.K.Biggs) 2 versions: SATB,
TTBB, in Latin, 1.5min, $1.00
CP 009....TRAIN (TTBB & CD) Humorous phrases spoken on a moving train
4.75 min. $1.50 CD: $10.00

9. Two of Chor Leoni's favourite pieces (and crowd pleasers) are
Jonathan Quick's arrangement of Loch Lomond and Bruce Sled's

You can check out the materials on the ACDA Male Choir R&S web page at:

There's a link to the list of music we did in our reading session at last
year's national convention.

You can also visit the web site for Intercollegiate Men's Choruses National
Seminar, which was held in Washington, DC in March. On this page, there's a
document listing everything that was performed at the three reading

I think the Bartholomew chanteys and Testament are classics, so if your
audience is non-male chorus folks, I'd include them. If they're old hands,
then they probably know them already. But you never know, and I think it's
nice to include some chestnuts if you have the option.

11. Yes, I think people who work with men's voices know the chanties and the
Here are some suggestions:
Rio Que Pasos Llorando arr. De Paur was Lawson-Gould 544. I'm pretty sure
it's still available from the current supplier of L-G pubs.

Say Dear, Will You Not Have Me? - Morley (from the 3 part canzonets) TTB
#66197 Cecilian Singers Press

Veni Sancte Spiritus - Janacek TTBB Universal Editions UE 16780NJ

When I Was in Love with You - Huessenstamm TTBB Greenwood Press #ESE1901-4

And for a pippin, Randall Thompson's Tarantella isn't as well known as the
Testament, and is lots more fun to sing. ECS #560.

By the way, I wrote a setting of three Whitman texts, Beat! Beat! Drums!
It's worth a look. (It's tough) TTBB - James Myers, Roger Dean publisher.

12. I have a new piece that has been popular among college groups of moderate to high ability: "Seinn O," a traditional Scottish mouth music piece. It was performed recently by Scott Tucker and the Cornell Men's Ensemble at the Eastern Regional ACDA Conference to great acclaim. David Moore

13. My all-time favorite "must do" for male choirs is Alice Parker's
arrangement of "Seeing Nellie Home" (Alfred Publishing). Originally
published in 1954, it's still in print. It's absolutely classic, and
I've used it as a model of great part writing in my own arranging/

14. I recommend my own arrangement of the Austrian carol AS LATELY WE
WATCHED, TBB and Piano in English or German (DIE HIRTEN AUF DEM
FELDE.) Pub. by Boosey & Hawkes. Listen to a portion of it at: Wayland Rogers

15. Do you know my THINGS THAT NEVER DIE? Shawnee has just released a TTBB
setting of it. Lee Dengler

16. You might be interested in my I Am In Need of Music and The Circles
Of Our Lives, both TTBB with piano, published by Boosy & Hawkes. David Brunner

17. you might look at "Sea Fever" by Nancy Hill Cobb, published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. It was commissioned by the Ohio State University Men's Glee Club. I think it works very well and would be a good addition.

Check out the lllinois ACDA's most recent edition of our PODIUM newsletter.
Bob Boyd has an article on TTBB music suggestions.

19. Bruce Sled's Jing-ga-lye-ya (
has gained quite a following in TTBB Circles.

20. How about Manly Men, by Kurt Knecht published by Walton. The guys will
surely enjoy it.