- This topic has 12 voices and 11 replies.
- October 31, 2016 at 9:59 am #523567a-bartholomewpmcs1-orgParticipant
I teach in an extremely diverse elementary school and I have been asked by administration and other teachers to completely avoid any winter choral rep that even remotely alludes to any holiday or religion, so a multi-cultural theme is out of the question.
I understand that “Let it Snow” and “Winter Wonderland” are wintery non-holiday songs, and those are currently our most solid repertoire pieces for this winter’s concert. I’m searching high and low for more pieces that are secular as well. I would love to hear recommendations from anyone with experience in this situation.
The other dilemma I’m having here is that before I arrived at this school the choir program was non-existent, so building interest and skill level of the choir has been a challenge. I will need to find secular music that is unison treble or two part treble. The administration is also asking for pop music (sigh) appropriate for winter.
Any and all recommendations will be so appreciated!!November 2, 2016 at 1:10 am #523600Jack SenzigParticipant
Not sure what you are looking for but here’s a unison (call and response) Native American version of Carol of the Bells
A Thanksgiving song that transitions to Christmas
You should read this from my state and find something similar to help you stand up to them. http://www.wmea.com/about/relig_pos.htmlNovember 2, 2016 at 1:11 am #523602Joanne HammilParticipant
“Dreams of Harmony” makes a great closer to a winter concert. 2 parts.
Sung here by 2 adults but sung in many schools and choruses by children, and easy to learn (because it’s a partner song — i.e. distinct 2 parts rather than close harmony on same words) yet sophisticated musically.
I also have a longer SATB version of this piece, but it sounds like this 2 part version is what you might be able to use now.
And here’s another even simpler 2-part song in the same vein, “Circle the Earth with Peace”:
November 2, 2016 at 1:12 am #523608Jeffrey BernsteinParticipant
I think this piece of mine may be just right for you. It’s called “Twilight of the Year”, and it’s a winter solstice piece. Scored for SAB choir, bells and piano, it could easily be done without the bells or the baritone part. Our middle school chorus loves it!
I hope this helps. Best regards, Jeffrey Bernstein.November 2, 2016 at 1:12 am #523613Ken KraintzParticipant
I totally understand your situation. Take a look http://www.singfree.net and the song: A VERY MERRY TIME OF YEAR. There is a sample recording online so you can get the idea of the song. Also, all the music is fully recorded so you and your students can hear the full recordings, plus there are part-predominant recordings of each part and the piano accompaniment. This piece is written for SAB, but it can be done SA or just unison. I hope this will add to your collection of pieces that you can perform at a winter concert.
Ken KraintzNovember 2, 2016 at 1:12 am #523614Dawn EmermanParticipant
Ive used ‘All I Want for Christmas is You'(yes christmas, but pop, so may be) and ‘Let it Go’ with my middle school choir and used the 2 part. They went really well. You could also use, Sleigh Ride, Dona Nobis Pacem, Let there be Peace on Earth, or We Will which is a beautiful song of hope with swahili.November 2, 2016 at 1:13 am #523616JON CORELISParticipant
My version of the traditional English seasonal song Drive the Cold Winter Away has no religious references unless you count the appearance of the words “holiday” and “Yuletide;”
My version of the traditional English seasonal song The Dilly Carol has no specific religious references, though much of the imagery is clearly implicitly pagan:
I have a unison treble (or more specifically a score that can be used as unison treble) setting of a Latin poem, which may be appropriate especially for a school that teaches Latin, at:
Anyone interested in performing these should please consult my permissions page:November 2, 2016 at 1:13 am #523617Robert ApplebaumParticipant
I have prepared a dropbox with perusal scores and Finale mp3’s for some non-religious winter pieces:
Possibly applicable to your situation would be Toboggan for Two (SA) (E.C. Schirimer 7.0646) and Winter Snow (E. C. Schirmer 7.0668).
Although these pieces have gone through their final editing, neither has been released as yet. But you can order pre-release copies by contacting Melissa Schelich:
Hope one of these pieces will be of use to you.
Bob ApplebaumNovember 2, 2016 at 1:14 am #523625Seth BoydParticipant
One of my personal favorites is “Winter Fantasy” by Jill Gallina. It is a partner song that talks about the joy of winter and pairs with Jingle Bells, which makes no reference to any holidays in the first verse.
I also like “Something Told the Wild Geese” by Sherri Porterfield. It has harmony that can be tricky, but the melody is beautiful . The text is about that mysterious “something” that tells the geese to fly south for the winter.
Also, consider this. There is no rule that says that you HAVE to program music about winter, holidays, or anything in December. Think of the possibilities it opens up if you simply program music that is beautiful and accessible for your students.November 2, 2016 at 9:31 am #523634Brian HolmesParticipant
Carol fo the Field Mice is my setting of a familiar poem from Wind in the Willows.
SA plus piano; can be performed in unison. Here is a video of a young chorus singing the piece in unison:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfvMPuY9v4w. If you hunt around on youtube, you can find additional performances. You can also find settings of the same poem by other composers.
It’s published by William Thorpe. Here is a link to Thorpe’s site for my music; you can see some pages of the score and listen to excerpts. http://www.thorpemusic.com/holmes01.html
If you need to see a copy of the score fast, or want more information, let me know.
Brian HolmesNovember 2, 2016 at 4:28 pm #523641gordon kingParticipant
Winter Cantata by Persichetti – I do not recall whether it is SATB or SSA.November 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm #523669Bart BrushParticipant
I taught 4th-5th-6th grade choir for several years in a district where students spoke 21 languages at home. When I asked my principal about sacred Christmas repertoire during my first year, she said, “Of course you can sing SOME sacred music–it’s part of the culture of many of our students. Just remember that the education regulations in our state require that this be part of a diverse concert and curriculum. ”
I never had any complaints, but if these sacred selections had been forbidden, I could just as easily have presented–as others here have suggested–a diverse concert consisting of songs about peace, or of a variety of excellent non-sacred songs matching the choir’s ability.
However…..they want to dictate that you present more pop songs beyond “Let It Snow” and “Winter Wonderland”? This is outrageous. You are the music professional and the repertoire decisions should be yours, within the limits of avoiding sacred Christian selections. I suggest you push back politely and firmly, before they start to dictate everything you do. Tell them you insist that the school’s reading curriculum be replaced with comic books.November 2, 2016 at 11:38 pm #523674Seth BoydParticipant
Before getting “polite but firm” with admin, consider the possibility that your administrators are ignorant. Their reason for asking you to do some pop music is probably because they want the concert to be well received by their community. They probably enjoy listening to pop and can’t conceptualize anything else being good because they haven’t really listened to anything else. The choir also sounds new. Probably, the principal recognizes that it’s good for kids and wants to see it go well.
If my principal asked me to do some pop songs, I would probably include one, but fill the rest of the concert with music of substance. I would allow the performance to be education for my administration. If I come across as resistant, he or she might think I’m stuck up. Unless you have reason to believe otherwise, plan a great secular winter concert. Let the music and the kids create the kind of audience response that opens your principal’s eyes a little bit. We don’t get what they do all day and don’t need to know most of it. Same with them for us. Put on a good concert and your principal will stop offering advice and start asking what you have planned for the next concert. 🙂
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