Songs for Youth Choirs
"Sing Alleluia" is a 3-part round, pitched in a medium range covering just less than an octave, that is good as a vocalise for choir voices. It could be pitched in any key to work out the entire vocal range. The "lu" of "alleluia" is a nice forward vowel that is useful for tuning.
"Bach Aire" is taken from J.S. Bach's "Anna Magdelena Bach Notebook" sung in scat syllables. It is a two-part invention (Bach's terminology) where the voices are played off each other providing both counterpoint and harmony. Part 1 is for the High Voices (Sop/Tenor), and Part 2 would be sung by the Low Voices (Alto/Bass). For Youth Choirs with boys still in that changing voice stage, the Part 2 is perfect - not so high that they sound like girls, but not too low that they can't actually sound the pitches.
"Follow Me" 3-Part Round is from Old England. It follows the major scale down like falling water. Then the scale passages get busier with eight note runs as the melody continues upward. If the ascending 4th on "greenwood" is too high for the voices to sing, simple repeat the first note of "greenwood" for both syllables. This is a useful exercise to practice "lining up the consonants" to stay in sync with each other.
"Jubilate Deo" is a beautiful three-part round written by the German composer Michael Praetorius (1571-1621). It begins high and falls like a waterfall. This song is useful for tuning up "thirds." The Latin words mean "sing jubilant praise to God." ( Pronunciation: YOO BE LAH TAY DAY OH)
"Christmas Day Round" by Janie Thompson is a 3-part Partner Song meant to be sung as a Round. Great for a Christmas Choir warm-up song.
"The Orchestra" is an old German quodlibet, or partner song quadrupled!. That term QUODLIBET refers to the use of many melodies going on at the same time that are the same length in measures, have the same time and key signatures, and all follow the same chordal structure. Each melody is introduced separately and then for the big finish they are all sung together. "The Schoolyard Quodlibet" is a collection of children's songs that are grouped together because they all have the same basic structure. Even Youth and Adult choirs enjoy singing this one. is a concept that can also be taught through working on these songs. Try having one part highlighted, while the other parts are sung at a much softer dynamic level.
is a traditional Christmas song that provides an opportunity to practice dramatic contrasts. The "echo" can be sung at a much softer dynamic by the entire chorus, or by just a few voices for a color change. This song is also fun to sing with the echo part sung by an antiphonal choir in a distant location.