• Jenny Ferris

Top 10 Choral Repertoire choices


Let It Go - words by Leunig

This simple little wonder takes its text from the above Leunig cartoon and can be found in the Sing! book series. It lends itself well to 2, 3 or 4 part harmonies depending on the level of your choir and it always makes me cry!

Rhythm of the Rain - Jerry Estes

This piece is a gem! It features 3 distinct melodic ostinati about rain which, when put together, sound stunning and can make your intermediate choir sound top notch! It can also be expanded with some auxiliary percussion accompaniment along with the piano.

Ferry Me Across The Water - Lyn Williams

A lovely piece in 7/8 unison with a pretty piano accompaniment, this is a good one for working on a unified vowel sound. Here is it performed by Gondwana Voices:

Tailor and the Mouse - John Feierabend

This is one of John Feierabend's gems. It also has a great picture book that comes with it (I spoke about this one in my Top 10 Books for the Music Room). You can adapt this piece to suit a variety of abilities, as there is a unison section which then breaks off into various echoes and harmonic accompaniments.

Canon from Mahler 1

I love this canon for a number of reasons - it's great for developing canonic singing abilities and part work, it's excellent for teaching solfa and the patterns and connections between different scale degrees, but most importantly, it's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Taken from Mahler's Symphony No. 1, mvt. 3, it takes the French folk song "Frere Jacques" and sets it in a minor key. The oboe obligato that enters a few minutes in is just divine.

Wau Bulan

This piece looks incredible on stage! A Malaysian folk song about kite-flying, the text is surprisingly easy to pick up and so the real challenge is in the choreography. I'm not always a fan of choral movement, but in this case it looks excellent! The choir is arranged into rows, with alternating rows performing mirroring movements. Take a look at the effect below:

Since You Went Away - Otto Mortensen

An SATB piece that I'll let speak for itself!

Wade In The Water - Traditional

A simple but effective spiritual in 3 parts, this piece has some great call and response sections which could feature a soloist or two. The harmonies are really just simple melodic ostinati that are very easy to teach and great for a choir that is starting to explore part work.

Sesere Eeye -

This choir staple harks from the Torres Strait Islands and features choreography that mimics the actions of the Kingfisher bird diving into a river - the focus of the lyrics. Take a look at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX--XrwJg3o

Bring Me Little Water Sylvie - arr. Moira Smiley

This folk song (yet another one!) is excellent for an advanced primary or young secondary choir who have developed some part singing abilities and are looking for a challenge by way of body percussion. Moira Smiley has a number of arrangements for different voice types and anything from 2 to 4 voices, making it adaptable for a wide variety of vocal ensembles.

The coordination aspects can take a while to put together, but are really effective once they lock into place!

Take a look below:

What are your favourite choral pieces? Drop us a line and let us know!

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