As church musicians who must plan repertoire in advance, our thoughts are often a season or two ahead, and I think this is especially fitting during December. To have one ear in Christmas and the other ear in Easter reminds us of this profound truth: Christ Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7-8, NRSV). Have you begun thinking about Lent/Easter music? Perhaps after all the holiday concerts and extra worship services are over, after the gifts have been opened, you’ll find some down time to plan for the next season. To help you, here are some excellent new resources for you to consider:
Lord, Who throughout These Forty Days (SATB, piano), arr. Linda Cable Shute
This setting of the English folk tune “The Turtle Dove” is a perfect pairing with the traditional Lenten hymn. The first stanza features beautiful two-part writing for women’s voices, with SATB writing on stanzas two and three.
Just As I Am (SATB, piano), David Barton
Challenge your choir with this stirring anthem that uses original music with an older text. Much of the writing is unison or two-part, and a Soprano solo sings the first stanza. The flowing piano accompaniment provides good support for the voices.
Jesus, Lover of My Soul (SAB, piano), arr. David Greatrix
Here is a lovely rendition of the Welsh tune “Aberystwyth” for three-part choir. The third stanza is a cappella but could be doubled by the piano. The soaring Soprano descant on the final stanza could also be played by a treble instrument.
For God So Loved the World (SATB, a cappella), Melchior Franck, ed. William Braun
If your choir is not accustomed to performing repertoire from the early Baroque, this piece is a great introduction to the period. With John 3:16 as its text, this anthem will find many uses throughout Lent and Holy Week.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (SAB, piano), John Carter
This original musical setting offers a fresh perspective on a classic. The third stanza quotes the tune “Hamburg,” and the part-writing is strong throughout. Even SATB choirs will enjoy singing this moving anthem.
Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven (SAB, piano, trumpet), Jason A. Heald
Set in a joyful, lilting 6/8 meter, this anthem is the perfect choice for smaller choirs (at an early-morning Easter service, or the Sunday following Easter). The vocal parts are easily learned, and the trumpet part adds a festive flare.
Good Christian Friends, Rejoice and Sing! (SATB, organ, opt. brass, percussion, assembly), arr. Jeremy J. Bankson
Open your Easter service with this dynamic setting of the tune “Beverly.” The assembly is invited to sing on the first and last stanzas, with a reproducible page included in the score. Be sure to book your Easter musicians now!