Members’ Roundtable

We asked chapter members to recommend pieces for Christmas that they think folks may not know about. Here are some of the responses:

Edward Clark suggested two publications:

  • Amen! Tell It on the Mountain! arranged by Mary McDonald – Lorenz Corporation, 10/44412L (SATB) or 10/4801L (SAB). Both versions are also available in a downloadable e-print edition at J.W. Pepper. This is a great blues-swing style arrangement which combines two familiar spirituals: Amen! and Go, Tell It on the Mountain with a really fun piano accompaniment and accessible voice parts.
  • Two Advent Carols from the Shape-Note Tradition arranged by Pamela M. Robertson and published by Ring Press Handbell Music available online at (This is a great site with many fine downloadable arrangements of handbell music.) Scored for SATB and piano with optional handbells. Both arrangements are really easy with frequent unison singing for either the women or the men and just a few sections in four parts. It is always refreshing to hear familiar words sung to new tunes. The two pieces are:
    “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming” – uses both WEDLOCK, Sacred Harp, 1844 and ES IST EIN ROS as arranged by Praetorius. One handbell (B5).
    “O come, O come, Emmanuel” – uses PISGAH, Kentucky Harmony, 1816. Four handbells (D5, G5, A5, D6).

Bill Hively recommends:

  • Lift Up Your Heads by one Peter Niedmann (SATB with organ, Augsburg 11-10774). We’re singing it Sunday!
  • Or, Come and Praise the Lord with Joy by Dolores Hruby (who just died in August). SATB a cappella with triangle and hand drum (Concordia 98-2170).
  • This one might be too well-known, but my favorite Advent/Christmas anthem is E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come by Paul Manz, SATB a cappella (Concordia 98-1054). Manz died 10 years ago this year.

From Jerry Davidson:

A little like asking which one of your children you like the best…

My very favorites, used with almost every choir I’ve conducted.
  • Christmas Day by Gustav Holst, Novello (all-time winner, I have parts for WW Qt & organ)
  • Tyrley-Tyrlow by Peter Warlock, OUP (rather difficult in spots but truly wonderful)
  • Lullay my Liking by Gustav Holst, available on CPDL, exquisite
  • Whence comes this rush of wings by Balbastre/Davidson, VERY EASY, uses the Balbastre Noel variations interspersed, available at no cost from me.

All SATB except mine which is SA/TB

From Deb Gemma
  • On This Day Earth Shall Ring (Personent hodie), arr. by David Cherwien, Concordia, 2-part Voices, Organ, optional Handbells.
A fresh setting of the familiar tune for small choirs. The first three verses are sung in unison by different combinations of voices, fourth verse adds a descant. Variety and color in the organ part give this piece a full sound. The handbell notes are cued in the score, and translate readily to the organ; the piece works beautifully without the optional bells.