Choosing the right repertoire plays a central role in the enjoyment and success of choir rehearsals and performances. Choir members (and their conductors) are excited by new repertoire but also want the music to be meaningful and beautiful, challenging and rewarding. We’ve composed a list of 10 Stunning Pieces for Beginner and Intermediate Choirs that will have your singers and audience smiling from ear to ear!
1. Agnus Dei – Liam Bates
Liam Bates provokes real emotion through his music and this is no more evident than in his Agnus Dei. Sublime choral writing alongside an enchanting piano accompaniment makes this a piece suitable for the smallest chamber choir to the largest chorus.
2. Down by the Salley Gardens – Eoin Conway
This is one of Ireland’s most cherished poems and beloved airs and here Eoin Conway lets both lyrics and melody shine in this stunning arrangement. Simple for the main part with expressive harmonic touches sprinkled here and there; this piece is perfect for small and large ensembles of all standards and ages. A choral delight!
3. Flow Water – Damien Kehoe
Kehoe’s Flow Water has rapidly become a favourite of choirs worldwide. The piece is simple and direct and allows the choir to indulge themselves in the rich harmony. Damien Kehoe’s harmonic language is warm and contemporary, setting his own text with sweetness and power. If you are seeking a piece to showcase your choir’s tone and blend, then look no further.
4. The Blackbird – Greg Scanlon
From the opening solo, to the first choral entry, to the two soli lines weaving in and out of the choir, this piece has a profound impact throughout. Long vocal lines are given sonorous harmonies that choirs will relish singing. Not as difficult as one might think as Greg Scanlon uses subtle repetition of motifs and phrases in each verse.
5. It’s Strange About Stars – Seán Doherty
Aimed more at intermediate choirs, composer Seán Doherty does something very clever in this piece, creating a rich and complex harmonic palette with minimal movement within each vocal part. The result is stunning, befitting the ‘awesome’ quality of the poem itself.
6. Molly Malone – Bernard Sexton
A playful and entertaining arrangement of one of Ireland’s best-known folksongs. Arranger Bernard Sexton‘s music gives the impression of Molly and her family skipping into work each day until she catches a dreaded fever where upon the mood quickly changes! Frivolous and fun and perfect for all choir types.
7. The Lake Isle of Innisfree – Ephrem Feeley
Available in a wide array of voicings, Ephrem Feeley’s The Lake Isle of Innisfree immediately grabs the listener’s attention on hearing the haunting opening melody. Very well written lines in all parts combined with a beautiful and supportive piano accompaniment ensure that choirs will quickly grow in confidence in the piece, allowing time to apply fine details and musical polish.
8. There Is No Rose – Eric Sweeney
Another fantastic piece to showcase the musicality and sound of your choir. More challenging than it looks, composer Eric Sweeney provides luscious homophonic harmonies, followed by a more animated polyphonic middle section before returning to the glorious chordal writing of the beginning. A real showstopper!
9. Dream Light – Damien Kehoe
This piece’s simplicity is its strength. Largely homophonic writing alongside very singable lines and uncomplicated yet rich harmony affords the singers space to fully engage in communication and expression. Here composer Damien Kehoe has created a work perfect for Youth choirs right through to more experienced SATB ensembles.
10. The Parting Glass – Eoin Conway
Known primarily as a sentimental and nostalgic folksong, arranger Eoin Conway adds to these traits a warmth and sense of camaraderie in this wonderful setting for mixed choir. The melody is shared between men and women with sensitive moments of reflection incorporated between verses. Gorgeous!