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Looking for some good choral arrangements of country songs

Hello all,
 
I am preparing the Ozaukee Chorus Spring Concert and am looking for some quality choral arrangements of Country/Western songs and 60/70's Pop/rock songs.  Our theme is a little bit country a little but Rock n Roll.  I have a couple of folk songs we will do, but am also looking for other possibilities for both parts of the program.  I also am looking for music that is a play on those phrases as well - like "Elijah Rock".  I welcome your suggestions. Thanks!
 
What I have so far as possibilities
 
Shenandoah
Cindy
Happy Trails
I See the Light of a Clear Blue Morning
Crazy
Beattles Medley
Under the Boardwalk
YMCA
I Will Survive/Survivor mash up.
Someone to Love - Queen
Hallelujah - Cohen
 
Looking forward to hearing your suggestions.
 
Brian Eggers
Director of The Ozaukee Chorus
Replies (10): Threaded | Chronological
on December 28, 2012 2:04pm
Hi, Brian.  In my experience, few "country" songs make it into published choral arrangements, perhaps because they have a rather short shelf life, perhaps because they tend to be conceived as vehicles for soloists with, perhaps, some backup vocalists.  But you may find some that have moved to "classic" status.  I've arranged quite a few for the Oklahoma State FFA Chorus over the years (but not as far back as the '60s or '70s, since the kids always pick current songs).
 
Then there's the small problem of defining "country."  My favorite line in "The Blues Brothers" is, "We have both kahnds of music here, country AND western!"  And cowboy songs are definitely not in a class with Nashville productions, while bluegrass standards are in a class by themselves.  And accompaniment is also a problem, since the typical country sound can NOT be duplicated by an accompanying pianist!
 
Because of this, I generally used country songs for my university show ensemble in medleys that focused on current or very recent hit songs.  And that was possible only because we did all of our own special arrangements.  And because our showband members could imitate the styles rather well.
 
But I do hope you can find what you're looking for.
All the best,
John
on December 29, 2012 3:49am
Brian,
I asked one of my publishers if they would be interested in seeing an arrangement of a country/western song and they gave me a very loud NO.
The only published music that I know of that comes close to country are songs by John Denver and Bob Dylan.   Also Barbershop societies and a cappella websites offer country hymns and old Gospel Songs (not the same as Gospel music).
 
Hal Leonard publishes a TTB arrangement of the Crosby Stills & Nash song FIND THE COST OF FREEDOM.
 
There are lots of C&W songbooks out there with many songs perfect for arrangment.  You could do it yourself or have some students arrange a song (never underestimate your students).  Start with the Dixie Chicks song COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY from their FLY album.   Then ON THE ROAD AGAIN by Willie Nelson.
 
Boosey & Hawkes publishes my bluegrass arrangement of LIFE IS LIKE A COUNTRY RAILROAD.   It has a fun imitation Elvis section and romping bluegrass ending.
Nick Page
on December 29, 2012 1:44pm
Nick,
 
For those who go looking, your song is actually "Life is like a Mountain Railroad", at least according to Pepper. I do wish it were available for women's voices.
 
Bill Paisner
Director, Southwest Women's Chorus
on December 30, 2012 5:05am
Bill,
 
I've found this song also titled, "Life's Railway To Heaven." 
 
Lowell J. Roderick
Director, Bessemer Area Schools
on December 29, 2012 5:27am
There's an "O Brother, Where Art Thou" medley that we used several years ago.  You could also explore the Southern Gospel rep... there are some great quartet arrangements that might inspire you.
 
on December 29, 2012 7:22am
Since Nick mentioned Dixie Chicks -- there's an SSA version of their "Wide Open Spaces", as arranged by Mac Huff:
 
 
Donna
on December 30, 2012 11:48am
Done it -- loved it.
on December 31, 2013 4:57am
Try 'Seven Bridges Road' - great as a choral piece. (sung by the Eagles)
 
on December 31, 2013 6:05am
Our ladies ensemble has performed Shania Twain's song Up! and Reba McEntire's I'm Gonna Take That Mountain.  From a rock perspective there's Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody or a medley of Queen songs.  We've also performed Motley Crue's Home Sweet Home.  Although it's newer than the era you're looking at, it has a country feel to it even though it's really a rock ballad. 
 
I often try to find a country piece to include in our programs - not because I'm a huge fan but because we want to appeal to a broader base.  Here is a list of some I've found and kept on my list for future consideration.     
 
Hey Good Looking - Hank Williams - sample available at  http://mp3s.sheetmusicplus.com/soundclips/16297462_19.mp3
I've Been Everywhere arr. Jay Althouse - Alfred Music Publishing
I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow arr. Kirby Shaw - Hal Leonard Corporation
I Will Always Love You arr. Mac Huff - Hal Leonard Corporation
I Walk the Line: the Music of Johnny Cash arr. Alan Billingsley - Hal Leonard Corporation
Applauded by an audience of 1
on December 31, 2013 6:44am
Brian,
I think that, if you look to Pepper--or any other big distributor--you'll find a number of decent arrangements of Country/Western songs. In my experience, the easiest thing is to get the paper catalog and turn to the "Pop" section.
There is also a good medley by Huff&Jacobson called _Raise a Ruckus_. It's out of print, but you may be able to find some copies from a place like Schmitt or Penders (if need be, you could get permission from Hal Leonard to make more copies).
Other ideas:
  • "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen
  • "Rock and Roll Is King" by ELO
  • "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" by Big&Rich
  • "(Ghost" Riders in the Sky"--probably TTB
Did you already look on the Repertoire section of ChoralNet?
Think outside the box, too: maybe get some of the great collections by Wayne Erbsen and others from Mel Bay Pub. They're not SATB (I'm guessing that's the voicing you want), but there's a lot of great songs, and you could probably adapt.

BTW, is this Ozaukee, north of Milwaukee? (On, Wisconsin!)

 
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