It’s really hard to pick music for a volunteer church choir. When I consider a piece of music to put in the hands of my volunteer choir, I evaluate it on three dimensions: Is it smart? Is it pretty? Is it accessible?
The resulting venn-diagram of appropriate music that fits these three categories leaves just a sliver of repertoire at our disposal. Bach cantatas are smart and pretty, but rarely accessible for a volunteer church choir. The hundreds of newly composed anthems published each year are often pretty, almost always accessible, but rarely very smart.
Here are a few that I’ve found to be gems. My choir loved all of these, and have sung them again and again when we need to just relax and sing something we all enjoy. I hope these are useful to you!
1. The Comfortable Words
Text from the book of common prayer (Matthew 211:28 and John 3:16)
Music by Andy Piercy (c) 2015 IQ Music
Arranged by me, here: The Comfortable Words
2. Total Praise – Richard Smallwood
Doreen Rao’s version for choir SATB is good.
3. The Valley of Vision – Kurihara
Text from the Puritan Prayer Book The Valley of Vision
Music by Adam Kurihara (c) 2014
4. Take Courage My Soul (The Storm is Passing Over)
By Charles Albert Tindley
This arrangement by Barbara Baker available from Boosey & Hawkes is decent, though I’d prefer it down a few steps for the tenors!