Home 9 Composers 9 Mark Sirett

Mark Sirett is a native of Kingston, Ontario, and holds both masters and doctoral degrees in choral conducting and pedagogy from the University of Iowa. He has taught at the University of Alberta, Western and Queen’s. He is the Founding Artistic Director of the Cantabile Choirs of Kingston, a multi-choir programme that consists of over 250 choristers.  Choirs under his direction have won various provincial, national and international awards including the CBC Choral Competition.  

Mark is an award-winning composer and arranger whose works have been published in Canada, USA, UK, Germany and Sweden. On two occasions he has been awarded Outstanding Choral Composition by Choral Canada. His works have been performed and recorded by choirs worldwide, including Chanticleer, Vocalessence and the Elora Singers.

Dr. Sirett has won two international awards in conducting: the International Jury Award for Imaginative Programming and Artistry at the 2002 Cork International Choral Festival, Ireland, and Outstanding Conductor at the Young Prague Festival in 2004. He has conducted honours choirs in Luxembourg and Korea, as well as Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. He is frequently in demand as a clinician and adjudicator. Mark is recipient of the President’s Leadership Award from Choirs Ontario and the Mayor’s Award in the Arts from the City of Kingston.  

For further information on Mark’s music see 

A la claire fontaine

arr. Mark Sirett

SA  with piano – CP 1446   – duration 3:05  
TTBB  with piano – CP 1934
SSAA  with piano – CP 1938

This song may have appeared as early as 1604, when the first French settlement was established in Quebec. A clear fountain, a rose, and heart-break. Children sing this folk-song and adults relate to the deeper meanings.
instrumental parts: free upon request

After the War

by Gross and Keele arr. Mark Sirett

SATB    with piano    –    CP 1328   – duration 4:35
SSA    with piano    –    CP 1326
TTBB    with piano    –    CP 1378
Sarah Slean sang this song in the film “Passchendaele”.  Paul Gross, from Calgary-Alberta, wrote, co-produced and starred in the film which focuses on the experiences of a Canadian soldier at the Third Battle of Ypres. Mark has transformed the song into a wonderful choral composition which would be well suited to Remembrance Day events or any concert concerning War and Peace.

Instrumental parts – (optional and not available through retailers) – $20 (full set sent via PDF files): 
full score plus; oboe, flute, violin and double bass

Celtic Carol

by Mark Sirett

SATB a cappella  –  KH 012   – duration 3:15   

Sweet was the song, the song the Virgin sang,
When she to Bethlehem Juda came
And was delivered of a son,
That blessed Jesus hath to name: 
Lulla, lulla, lulla, lulla, lulla, lullaby.

Christmas in Carrick

arr. Mark Sirett

SATB a cappella with violin and spoons  –  CP 1912   – duration 2:05  
SSA a cappella with violin and spoons  –  CP 1921
TBB a cappella with violin and spoons  –  CP 1920

Who cares if we work tomorrow?
Now’s the time to spread good cheer!
Pass the punch around the table!
Christmas comes but once a year!

Citadel Hill

arr. Mark Sirett

SATB    with piano    –    CP 1245   – duration 3:00  
SSA    with piano    –    CP 1335      
Mark is a master of writing approachable choral music. After all, he directs his own choirs every week and adjudicates choral festivals all over the country. So his voice leading is intuitive, making the learning process a breeze for the director and a joy for the singers. This is another of his charming folksong arrangements.

Cliffs of Dooneen

arr. Mark Sirett

SATB    with piano – CP 1164   – duration 4:05  
SSA    with piano – CP 1382
TTBB    with piano – CP 1889

The Cliffs of Dooneen is a popular and haunting Irish folk song that extols the rugged beauty of the Atlantic coast. The final verse expresses longing for the homeland–a sentiment shared by many Irish immigrants during the nineteenth century when they were forced to leave for North America because of the Great Famine. This arrangement was written for Sister Rita Clare and the Cape Breton Chorale for the Celtic Colours Festival in 2008.  The SSA version is dedicated to Ann McIntyre, Conductor of the Edmonton Children’s Choir. 

Cloths of Heaven

by Mark Sirett

SATB    with piano – KH 022   – duration 3:55
SSA    with piano – KH 023
TTBB    with piano – KH 021

I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
William Butler Yeats

Cotton Jenny

by Gordon Lightfoot, arr. Mark Sirett

SATB    with piano    –    CP 1787   – duration 3:20  
TTBB    with piano    –    CP 1790    
SSAA    with piano    –    CP 2246      

Many singers and audience members will remember this delightful folk song by Lightfoot.  “Wheels of love go ’round!” Dr. Sirett has created an approachable type of “round” with his skillful writing. Great fun!

Danse Mon Moine

arr. Mark Sirett

SAB with piano and violin    –    CP 2231   – duration 1:45  
This is a classic Acadian/Québecois Folk-Song and Dr. Sirett makes it really SPIN. The text of this song is based on a game of words. In the vernacular of colonial Quebec, the name “Moine /Monk” is given to a small toy called in France: “German Top / toupie d’Allemagne”. Apparently, the “Moine/Monk” is actually a top (toupie) that the child puts into a spin with a cord and as it spins, the child tries to make the top dance by whipping it lightly with the cord.” So this explains the metaphor of referring to the toy top as a monk, and then singing this song which basically tells the top (Monk) that if it dances, the child will give it a list of things that are important to a monk.

Farewell to Tarwathie

arr. Mark Sirett

SATB with piano    –    CP 1357   – duration 3:30  
SSA with piano    –    CP 1597
TTBB with piano    –    CP 1876

Hunting for whale off the coast of Greenland and the pain of separation – leaving loved ones across the sea. This is another effective folk song that will endear audiences.

Faith in Peace

by Mark Sirett

SATB    with piano    –    CP 1860   – duration 6:45  
Peace demands more than our self-serving schemes,
She seeks our resolve – she seeks our best.
 May we never lose our faith in peace.
Lester B. Pearson (Canadian Prime Minister)

Johnnie Cope

arr. Mark Sirett

SATB   with piano    –    CP 1559   – duration 2:50  
The Scottish folk song gives an account from the Jacobite viewpoint of the Battle of Prestonpans. In the battle, which took place during the Second Jacobite uprising, Sir John Copewas the commander of the government troops, and was defeated in a dawn attack by the Jacobites.

The song includes several apocryphal incidents, including challenges conveyed by letters between Cope and his rival Bonnie Prince Charlie, as well as accurate accounts of Cope’s cowardice. It also includes an account of him fleeing from the battle all the way back to Berwick, being the messenger of his own defeat, which is also true . The battle was a decisive victory for the Jacobites.

In the Early Mornin' Rain

by Gordon Lightfoot, arr. Mark Sirett

SATB    with piano – CP 2101 – duration 4:20  
TTBB    with piano – CP 2102
SSAA    with piano – CP 2243
options: Guitar, Bass and Violin parts
This classic song has been covered by many artists from Bob Dylan and “Peter, Paul and Mary” to Elvis.
In the early morning rain with a dollar in my hand
With an aching in my heart and my pockets full of sand
I’m a long way from home, Lord, I miss my loved ones so
In the early morning rain with no place to go

Leezie Lindsay

arr. Mark Sirett 

SATB  with piano    –    CP 1558   – duration 4:40  
A highland Laird courts Leezie Lindsay in Edinburgh, sometimes after his mother had warned him not to hide his highland origins. Her family warns him off, but her maid encourages her. She finds the highlands hard, but finally he brings her to his family, where he is a lord, and makes her the lady of a great castle.

Make a Joyful Noise - Bwana asafiwe!

by Mark Sirett 

SATB  with piano – KH 064   – duration 2:40
Psalm 100 has been set to music by many fine composers over the years.  Mark’s rendition includes Swahili. Bwana asafiwe! (Praise the Lord) Exciting – approachable – this anthem really rings with happiness!


by Robbie Smith, arr. Mark Sirett

SATB  with piano – CP 1971   – duration 4:50
SSA  with piano – CP 1978
TBB  with piano – CP 1976
Maybe war will teach us something – teach us how to live in peace
Maybe tears will turn to gladness – and maybe famine will lead to feast
Maybe hatred will turn to kindness once it sees what it’s become
Maybe lies will turn to the truth once the sadness they’ve caused is done


by Mark Sirett 

SATB  a cappella – KH 082   – duration 3:30
Ononyatakaka (pronounced On-on-ya-ta-ka-ga) is Mohawk for “rock” or “stone”.  The word is strictly used for rhythmic purposes to portray sound reflecting off the surface of rock cliffs.

Pierless Bridge, the

by  Mark Sirett

SATB    with piano    –    CP 1294   – duration 3:10
TTBB    with piano    –    CP 1333
SSA    with piano    –    CP 1332
Emily Dickinson explores the question of faith in this poignant poem and Mark gives her poetry a perfect gentle setting. (a personal favourite of Dr. Larry Nickel)

Red-winged Blackbird

by David Francey; arr. Mark Sirett

SATB with piano – CP 2082 – duration 2:25
SSA with piano – CP 2083
TBB with piano – CP 2084
He’ll be in there singing his heart out,
He’ll be telling me stories too,
Of where he went to winter last year,
Of how he’s going back there too.
Thought I heard a red winged blackbird,
Red winged blackbird down my road,
Thought I heard a red winged blackbird,
Red winged blackbird down my road.

Seven Joys of Mary

arranged by Mark Sirett

SSA with piano and optional instruments – CP 1918  – duration 3:25 
instrumental parts available in various combinations (double bass plus, one, two or three upper instruments)

1. The very first joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of one
To see her blessed Jesus
When He was first her Son
When He was first her Son.

Skippers and Mates

by Robbie Smith, arranged by Mark Sirett

SATB a cappella – CP 2006   – duration 2:45
TTBB a cappella – CP 2007
Come all ye wise or simple men – skippers & mates & deckhands
To man the cargo ships again – skippers & mates & deckhands
We place no stock in rank nor name – skippers & mates & deckhands
To the rollin’ seas you’re all the same – skippers & mates & deckhands


by  Susan Crowe and Raylene Rankin, arranged by Mark Sirett

SSA with piano and violin or flute    –    CP 1607  – duration 3:05  
SATB with piano and violin or flute    –    CP 1610
TTBB with piano and violin or flute    –    CP 1890
violin part available upon request (no charge)

Little sparrow, still you fly
Still you gaze into the sky
Are you longing, do you yearn
For a tall tree to return?

Thy Kingdom Come

by Mark Sirett

SATB with piano or organ – KH 103  – duration 2:35

When knowledge, hand in hand with peace, shall walk the earth abroad:
the day of perfect righteousness, the promised day of God.

True North

by  Mark Sirett   

SATB    with piano    $2.75    CP 1575   – duration 7:00
This is a stirring anthem for proud Canadians. “Awake, my country, the hour is great with change!”

Un Canadien errant

arr.  Mark Sirett

SATB    with piano – KH 108   – duration 4:55   
SSAA    with piano – KH 109
TTBB    with piano – KH 119

A classic Canadian folk-song set for voices in multiple combinations with exquisite harmonies.