Simple repertoire for children's choir
  • Vincent
    Posts: 2
    Hi, I have recently commenced working with a group of children (Grades 3-6 - primary school) who combine with an adult choir at our Cathedral twice a month. Most of the children do not read music but can pick up simple things, for example I have recently taught them the Cantus line for the Byrd 3 Kyrie. Does anyone know of any simple/short motets - they could be 4 part harmony - but involving simple treble/soprano lines that I could teach these kids?
  • emac3183
    Posts: 30
    I used the soprano line of the Arcadelt Ave Maria with my grades 4-8 (but mostly 6th grade) small group. They've also learned the soprano of the Elgar Ave Verum Corpus. Parishioners thought both were beautiful, and both are easily combined with adult choirs.
  • CGM
    Posts: 683
    Also the SAB Palestrina "Jesu Rex admirabilis" (Rick Wheeler's edition, with an additional verse in the polyphony and added chant verses as well, is attached).

    Pueri Cantores has a list here of rep for young choirs.

    In addition, Pueri Cantores also has rep for this year's festivals available here and here.

    You may not agree with all of Pueri Cantores' choices, but you'll have a sizable selection of things to look through.
  • davido
    Posts: 872
    Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring - Bach
    Sleepers Wake - Bach

    Saint James Music Press has a “chorister” series geared toward this idea. It has motets and anthems for unison treble with organ accompaniment, or the full SATB score.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,667
    I composed this Missa Brevis for our students. This is the reduction. If you are interested in the SATB octavo, please PM me.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 254
    There was a practice, at least in Spain, of singing motets as vocal solos with the singer taking the appropriate solo part and instruments filing in the rest. Here is O Magnum Mysterium done that way in a recording:

    https://youtu.be/D6sVqgJhtQg?si=LAFVDWx7npOj9TWE

    You could have the kids learn the soprano line and support them with organ playing the motet underneath them. While this particular motet may be hard for kids, there are probably other things out there that would not.

    Hopefully, this will give them an appreciation for this type of music and give them a head start if they do something similar in the future.

    Another thought would be one of the ad libitum communion chants from the Graduale like Qui Manducat. That might be hard for kids. But I don’t think kids would be turned off by hard if they can see progress towards a good product. And once they get it, it can be used often.
  • Vincent
    Posts: 2
    All of these are wonderful suggestions. Thank you very much. There are some great ideas here that I will take forward - much appreciated.