Launching a Classical Choral Repertoire for Community Choirs

September 21, 2020 - By 
Image looking up into the roof of a large church with stained glass windows

Community Choirs come in all sizes and shapes and the diversity across these variations is wonderful. When my own choir started out around 12 years ago we majored on singing quite straightforward songs with repeated verses, things we could grasp fairly quickly yet were very effective and fun to do. Songs from the African continent, Folk songs and Spirituals fitted that category. And we still love singing those sorts of songs, it’s really the core of what we’re about.

The wealth of classical choral repertoire has a reputation for being beyond the reach of most Community Choirs but we have over the years found this not to be the case, and if chosen carefully and taught in the same way we learn all our pieces, there is much pleasure to be had in dipping some toes in the waters of this great rich ocean.

The first we tackled was Tallis’ If Ye Love Me, and it took us about 4 weeks to learn. Yet every week we discovered more about the beauty of counterpoint, the discipline of counting and waiting for your turn to come in, the listening to the other parts and marvelling at the construction of something which had a little extra depth and width from our normal repertoire. Some members took slightly longer to learn the music than others, but that’s no different from normal, and with the help of learning tracks, as with all our Choir Community publications, singers can learn their parts at their own pace.
Mozart’s Ave Verum followed soon after, and once these timeless classics are in the repertoire they are never forgotten. We are not a church choir but have found some of the anthems to be very useful at certain times to commemorate special occasions.

Choir members always have an option to choose something personal to sing near or on their birthdays and it is pleasing to note how many times one of these pieces is chosen.

I hope you have fun listening and choosing something for your singers to try. We have many more to follow but thought we would launch with a few tried and tested classics. One more thing to note is that we have taken extra care to provide you with top quality learning and listening tracks, so that as the pandemic continues and music is shared over live internet connections the best experience is available to as many as possible. Please have a listen and let us know what you think, and what other pieces you have successfully sung with your choirs.

The new Classical Choral Section on ChoirCommunity can be found here.


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