Archive for the ‘Choir’ Category

Accompanying Made Simple by Shelly Hamilton

Monday, August 31st, 2015

pen laying on staff paper

I recently attended a couple piano workshops by Shelly Hamilton.

“Accompanying Made Simple” was a very practical workshop providing the church pianists with simple yet practical ideas for accompanying special music.

Shelly brought her accompaniment suggestions to life by offering a free arrangement of Day by Day which includes three different accompaniment styles.  Thanks Shelly!

I attended Shelly’s workshops so that I could share accompaniment ideas with my church pianist readers.  Click on the following links to download the handouts for this workshop.

Accompanying Made Simple (outline)

Day by Day page one

Day by Day page two

Easy Choir Arranging by Mac & Beth Lynch

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

HYMNAL-PIC

Here are some great ideas for easy choir arrangements! Please keep in mind…these are my personal notes taken from a recent workshop entitled, “On the Spot Arranging” by Mac & Beth Lynch.

Mac and Beth are working with a small church choir of their own and shared a lot of excellent; practical ideas for using the hymnal to sing like a choir and not like the congregation 🙂

I know of more than one church pianist who fills the role of pianist and choir leader….or assists the choir leader with choosing choir specials.  I hope these few arranging ideas will get your own creative juices going.

Refer to a hymnal for the following arranging suggestions:

“When I See the Blood” 

Have men sing the echos in unison (melody only) during the chorus for a change! Why? Gives less of a “chuncky”  or “monotone” sound.  Singing the melody for the echos gives a more shapely tone.  (singing the echos in parts as written is fine…but the unison just provides a nice; refreshing change for an easy-to-sing arrangement).

 

“Nearer Still Nearer”   (A lot of hymns can be utilized as SAB by deleting the bass)

Use as SAB (men on tenor)

 

“I Surrender All” 

Verses: SAB

Chorus: Men on melody; Ladies on alto (1st line of chorus)
SATB on 4th line (final line of song)

 

“Burdens Are Lifted”

Nice SAB! As written (men sing tenor line throughout)

*Extra information:

Close harmony on: line one and last phrase of line two thru four)
Open harmony on first half of lines 2 through 4
Close harmony means less than an octave between soprano and tenor
Open harmony is more than an octave between soprano and tenor

 

“When I See the Blood Medley”

Verses: Men on melody; Ladies on alto
Chorus: Men on melody; Ladies on alto (no echos)
*At end of chorus…go into “The Cleansing Wave”
SAB throughout (men on tenor) Could go to 4 parts on chorus.

 

“I Know Whom I Have Believed” Nice  SB Arrangement!

1st half of line one: men on tenor, ladies on soprano (parallel 6ths)
2nd half of line one: men on alto, ladies on soprano (parallel 3rds)
1st half of line two: men on tenor, ladies on soprano (parallel 6ths)
2nd half of line two: unison (written harmony not as feasible for two-parts)

Chorus:

Men on melody, Ladies on alto throughout or go to unison on last phrase of
chorus on word “Unto” then split into 4 parts on “…Him against that day.”

My thoughts:  Input these simple hymn arrangements in finale (vocal score only) to have for quickie choir arrangements…instead of having choir members mark up their hymnals and to save on choir practice time since we only practice for half an hour.

Which reminds me….I need to make copies for our choir of “Jesus Loves Me” quickie arrangement which I shared in a recent post.  We’re never too old to sing this hymn.

Using the Hymnal for Easy Choir Arrangements!

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Using the Hymnal to Sing Like the Choir and Not Like the Congregation

Not everyone can arrange on the spot for choir but with a little advance planning, a simple yet beautiful choir arrangement can be created!

This post will cover how to create a two-part  choir arrangement for ladies and men.

Materials needed:

Several minutes

Pencil or pen

Slightly enlarged copy of a hymn from the hymnal.  (the enlarged copy allows room for the arranging marks; or you can can type them in)

Directions:

1. Look for a hymn with close harmony (3rds) in the treble clef…like this:

Jesus-Loves-Me-close-harmony

2.  Harmony possibilities:

Men on melody (top note)  Ladies on alto (bottom note)

Ladies 2 parts on line one and Men 2 parts for line two

Unison line one then 2 parts line two

Children’s choir sing melody and adult choir sings alto for verse & chorus

Flute plays alto (octave higher)  while children or ladies sing unison for

a verse.

As you can see….SO many ways to dress up a simple hymn without it sounding like a regular congregational hymn!

Since we only have a half hour choir practice…we prefer to pre-arrange these simple hymns ahead of time instead of having the choir pencil in the layout in their hymnals.  So…I’m sharing this simple hymn arrangement with you for “Jesus Loves Me” below for free 🙂  (Sorry it doesn’t include piano accompaniment…not enough minutes in the day for that)  🙂

Oh!  But wait a minute!  Go on a hunt in your hymnal to find more hymns with close harmony (3rds) in either the verse or chorus and start arranging!

Couple suggestions:  When I See the Blood, Standing on the Promises

*Click on the title below this picture of music… for free PDF download of  Jesus Loves Me

Jesus-Loves-Me-choir-copy-marked

⇒JESUS LOVES ME (FREE DOWNLOAD)⇐

*I want to thank Mac & Beth Lynch for their wonderful, practical workshop entitled “On the Spot Arranging” for choir.  They are also working with a small church choir of their own and the information was very relative for me as well as others.   (Majesty MusiCarolina Conference occured July 30-31, 2015 in Raleigha, NC)

Church Pianist Update

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

small manuscript thumbnail pic

Holy Holy Holy (real advanced piano solo) is almost complete!  I hope to publish it very soon.

I’m REALLY enjoying the creation of the second collection of Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements. What’s neat about these collections is they could be used for unison choir arrangements or accompaniment for flute or violin special.  See Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements Collection One by clicking HERE.

The words of the hymns mean even more to me… in the light of what’s going on around our nation.  My heart is truly being poured out on the pages of this collection. I try to convey the text in the piano accompaniment. What a  comfort the words of these hymns have been to me!

Here’s the list for the ten hymns in this collection:

1. And Can it Be

2. At the Cross

3. Come Thou Fount

4. Heaven Came Down

5. Higher Ground

6. I Shall Know Him

7. It’s Just Like His Great Love

8. My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

9. Near the Cross

10. What a Friend We Have in Jesus

 

Patriotic Music Resources for the Church Pianist

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Wanted to share a list of patriotic music resources with my church pianist readers before visiting with my parents starting tomorrow through Sunday. I consider this list of songs a treasure find!

1. I Love America by Frank & Flora Jean Garlock

Published by Majesty Music. Available in "Sing Praises Two" book

Published by Majesty Music. Available in “Sing Praises Two” book

*Taken from Sing Praises Two (still in print) If you want multiple copies…Majesty Music ask that you own at least four copies of the book Sing Praises Two, then pay $1.00 per copy made of the song. There is a limit of making multiple copies for up to 3 songs per book.

 

2. We Pledge Allegiance by Shelly Hamilton

Published by Majesty Music. Available in "Sing Praises Two" book

Published by Majesty Music. Available in “Sing Praises Two” book

*Same copying instructions from above apply to this song.

 

3. If My People by Frank & Flora Jean Garlock

Published by Majesty Music. Out of print. Instructions below.

Published by Majesty Music. Out of print. Instructions below.

*Majesty Music provides a way to obtain this song through their office. Call customer service department at (1-800-334-1071) to order copies of this song for $.50 per copy (This song is from the book “Choral Arrangements Everybody Can Sing-Volume 1)  *I love the words to this song…very well-written!

 

4. It’s Time to Pray by John W. Peterson

"It's Time to Pray"  vocal solo arrangement

“It’s Time to Pray”
vocal solo arrangement

I will be providing the cost details on this asap since I have updated this song to a different arrangement.

*Special note: The words to this song call Christians to the important matter of prayer for our country.

 

5.  We Stand by Niki Lott  *GREAT! for Men’s group or SATB choir

We Stand

I just purchased a downloadable SATB arrangement of this song  off Niki’s website called Christian Compositions  This is a very moving piece!

You can view a page of the music HERE

Niki also sells a choral arrangement with piano accopmaniment version HERE

You can also view a youtube video of Niki’s husband and friends singing it for special in church HERE

 

6.  We Pledge Allegiance by Derric Johnson

Published by Derric Johnson. Permission by composer to post this whole page.

Published by Derric Johnson. Instructions below.

Just got off the phone with Derric Johnson. How exciting to have talked with the composer of this well-known tune!  He was very helpful. He said this choral arrangement was available by “print on demand” which means it’s also out of print but you can order a copy of this 14 page arrangement for $5 per copy. I think this arrangement would make a nice mini-patriotic cantata! Here’s my best description of this arrangement:

Chorus (sung twice)

Narration section explains meaning of the flag colors with piano background

Verse of “We Pledge Allegiance” sung slow & reverently by choir

Transitions back into chorus of “We Pledge Allegiance”

Short narration section about heroes/patriots, another song beginning with lyrics “The lawyer came from Georgetown to visit Baltimore….”

Short narration section with choir Ooo’s to transition to next song

Choir begins slow and soft version of The Star-Spangled Banner verse and soars triumphantly into the chorus followed by a majestic ending!

 

7. In God We Trust by Reece Yandle (my Dad)

*In the works. I will do my best to publish this vocal solo arrangement  by the end of next week.

 

 

Tremendous Song! My Hope is Jesus

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Just came across a song I had forgotten about… entitled “My Hope is Jesus” by Ron Hamilton.

Ben Everson did a great job singing along with this wonderful choir!  A well written piece…words and music go hand in hand!

I think this song would make an excellent choir piece for Easter…or any time of year for that matter!

 

Just Published! Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements…

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Done! Finally!  I was extra picky with this collection and hope it’s useful to many church pianists.

I tried to create exciting accompaniments to enhance the congregational singing. Each arrangement contains an introduction as well as a couple verses/choruses worth of accompaniment.  Three of the arrangements even have key changes!

But relax 🙂  The arrangements are written in a lower key than the hymnal (at least two to three half steps lower). We have discovered that the congregation sings out even more when they can  sing in a reasonable key 😉

Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements (Booklet One)
Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements (Booklet One)
AUDIO SAMPLER: (product description below)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

*Downloadable product only
Price: 14.00

 

10 Late intermediate to early advanced piano congregational arrangements. (All Hail the Power, Are you Washed, Blessed Assurance, Does Jesus Care, Dwelling in Beulah Land, I Love to Tell the Story, Praise Him! Praise Him!, Rock of Ages, Sweet By and By, Sweet Hour of Prayer) 34 pages

The arrangements in this booklet are in lower keys; making it easier for the average congregation to sing. *Three of the arrangements have key changes!

Each arrangement contains an introduction and at least two verses & choruses…several of the hymns contain three verses worth of accompaniment.

*Special note: The arrangements in this booklet do not support the four-part singing found in most hymnals. *Other suggested uses: vocal solos, violin specials, unison choir specials. **Another special note: These arrangements can not stand alone as piano solos since some of the melody is absent during the piano accompaniment. *Complete audios not included with collections.

Resource for Church Pianists

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Id-Rather-Have-Jesus-CD

*CD Giveaway!  Enter below to get a chance to win this CD!

I love finding resources for church pianists!  One of my music composer friends, Mary Lynn Van Gelderen, recently published a  CD of  devotional piano music entitled “I’d Rather Have Jesus“.  Several of the selections are beautifully orchestrated by composer Samuel Joshua.

Hear samples of “I’d Rather Have Jesus CD” HERE

See Mary Lynn Van Gelderen play “Life Again!, ” featured on the CD…written by Mary Lynn and her husband John R. Van Gelderen. Click HERE

Here is a list of each piano solo arrangement (Special note:  Three of the selections are available as choral arrangements only) *All of the printed piano arrangements can be purchased through Gentle Praise.

Life Again!  (choral or free pdf of hymnal version)

I’d Rather Have Jesus (pdf instant download)

No Not One (pdf instant download)

Were You There? (pdf instant download)

Jesus Paid it All (available in the future)

Help Me Win the Lost (choral)

It Is Well (pdf instant download)

The Old Fashioned Way/Whiter Than Snow Medley (coming soon as a free download)

Pentecostal Power (available in the book  “Have Thine Own Way” by Mary Lynn Van Gelderen)

Great is Thy Faithfulness (not available at this time)

Little is Much (pdf instant download)

Have Thine Own Way (available in the book “Have Thine Own Way” by Mary Lynn Van Gelderen)

Knowing Christ (choral)

My Country Tis of Thee (available soon in a new collection by Mary Lynn Van Gelderen and Samuel Joshua)

How to enter contest drawing for FREE CD of I’d Rather Have Jesus:

Copy and paste the link to this article to facebook, twitter (or other social media)… and copy and paste your link with your comment here to validate your posting.

Your name will then be automatically entered in the drawing for a FREE copy of I’d Rather Have Jesus CD. (Please note: comments are moderated but will be posted as soon as I see them throughout the day)

This CD giveaway contest will expire on November 28, 2014 at 8pm EST.  The winner will be contacted via email that same evening and announced in this article.

 **Only available for residents within the continental US

Gentle Praise is an excellent resource for the church pianist!

Experienced Church Pianist vs. Inexperienced Leader

Friday, April 4th, 2014

If you have been a church pianist for very long or played in different churches as church pianist…then you may have run across this scenario…”playing for an inexperienced leader”.

The intention of this article is not meant to minimize the willingness and faithfulness of the inexperienced leader but rather to give constructive pointers to church pianists on how to deal with such a situation.

My dad, who was my first leader to follow,  emphasized to me the importance of the pianist following the leader.  I’m thankful for his teaching and preparing me for my role as church pianist.  He was the best teacher!

Over time, through experience…I have learned there are exceptions to rules 🙂

I have had to play for at least several different leaders in various situations who  just didn’t know “how” to lead and were doing the best they could.  Not all of them were non-musical people either.  I’ve had the joy of helping some of those leaders along…ONLY because of having a trusting relationship with them; giving me the liberty to do so.

I’ve found it necessary to “lead” as a pianist in some cases IF it was the only way to keep everyone singing together at the same tempo.

On occasion, when a lay person in our church has had to  substitute  for our regular leader…he will ask me before the service… to help him during congregational singing by keeping things moving since he’s not comfortable with leading.

The following video (taken from the 2013 Wild’s Music Conference) contains more discussion about this topic of “The Experienced Church Pianist vs. The Inexperienced Leader.”

My favorite quotes from the video:

“Part of our role is… we’re support, we’re ministry, we’re behind-the-scenes…serving and helping someone else try to do their job effectively…part of the philosophy of being a good church pianist.”  

 ~   ~   Faye Lopez   ~   ~

“You can infuse the service with energy and vitality in the singing…from the keyboard.” 

~   ~   Duane Ream   ~   ~

Enjoy the following brief… yet informative video on:

“The Experienced Church Pianist vs. The Inexperienced Leader”

It is Well (choir/congregational) Arrangement

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Just thought I’d share a very informal video shooting of my latest choir/congregational arrangement of “It is Well”.

It was a last minute decision to video the choir and didn’t have a tripod….so excuse the shaky quality.

At least you can get a rough idea of how the arrangement sounds.

The end is kind of funny because our Pastor thought we were done BEFORE we were done.  He had us sing it again because he liked it so much AND because he wanted to hear the end without interruption:)

It just so happened that the first recording was our best.

I appreciate all of our choir members taking the time to attend choir practice each week.  They are a blessing!

 

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