RON SMAIL

Home > Composers > RON SMAIL

Born in Glasgow, Scotland (1953) and raised in Vancouver, Ron Smail has been involved with vocal harmony since his younger brother, Bob, was able to sing. Three part vocal arrangements would be worked out on camping trips by dad, who sang bass. Back seat conflicts weren’t about whose hand crossed over the middle, but rather who stole whose note on the “big ending”. Serious vocal arranging started at UBC where, under the guidance of Cortland Hultberg, Ron wrote arrangements of standards for the University Chamber Singers. Writing for Phoenix Chamber Choir ensued, culminating in a recording of eight of Ronʼs “standards” arrangements.
 

Later, Ron ventured into other genres of music including folk and vocal jazz, and has since produced many arrangements of songs by Stan Rogers and Wade Hemsworth. Ronʼs arrangements have been sung and/or recorded by many choral ensembles including Kingʼs Singers, Chor Leoni, Elektra, Musica Orbium, (Montreal) Ohio State University Menʼs Glee Club, Sonoran Desert Choir (Arizona), and have been broadcast on CBC on numerous occasions. His well-known setting of Amazing Grace has sold in excess of twenty thousand copies and most recently, his arrangement of Fogartyʼs Cove was one of the pieces selected by the American Choral Directors Association to be given out to nearly ten thousand delegates at their convention in Los Angeles in February 2005.

Ron is currently director of choirs at Aldergrove Secondary School in Langley, British Columbia and Director of Music at Trinity United Church in Kitsilano. He lives in Tsawwassen, B.C. with his wife, Marla, and son Aaron.

Amazing Grace

arr. Ron Smail

SATB    $2.35    CP 1721   duration – 3:10
John Newton (1725–1807) wrote a hymn which has become one of the most frequently performed songs on earth. The pentatonic melody and profound lyrics are appropriate in so many situations. Ron Smail’s fetching and approachable arrangement has been presented by thousand of singers.

Barrett’s Privateers

by Stan Rogers, arr. Ron Smail

TTBB    $2.35    CP 1253  duration – 3:50   
SATB    $2.35    CP 1226 
Stan Rogers, Canada’s folk music hero, speaks to all of us through his words and music. This is a rollicking sea shanty. Not many songs have swearing (moderate) but this one really works! You might be swearing too if you lost both your legs!

Crucifixus

by Ron Smail 

SATB    $2.35    CP 1695  duration – 3:10
Ron uses long lines, dissonance, suspensions and intuitive voice-leading to express the agony.  This composition is ideal for the Lent season – in the church and on the concert stage.

Field Behind the Plow, the

by Stan Rogers    arr. Ron Smail

SATB    $2.35    CP 1682  duration – 4:45   
TTBB    $2.35    CP 1543
Stan Rogers, Canada’s folk music hero speaks to all of us through his words and music. This arrangement is faithful to Stan’s musical style  and its great to sing.

Fogarty's Cove

by Stan Rogers    arr. Ron Smail

TTBB    $2.35    CP 1033  duration – 2:10   
SATB    $2.35    CP 1032
Stan Rogers, Canada’s folk music hero speaks to all of us through his words and music. This arrangement is faithful to Stan’s musical style  and its great to sing.
Optional violin, guitar, and bass parts are available upon request.

Ghost of Simon Fraser, the

by Bruce Coughlan    arr. Ron Smail

SAB with piano    $2.50    CP 1147  – view the score
Another rollicking BC folk song arranged by our own Ron Smail tells the tale of Simon Fraser and his party traveling as the first “white men” down the river soon to bear his name.

I Hear a Call

by Tony Arata  arr. Ron Smail

SATB a cappella    $2.35    CP 1260  duration – 2:40
“I hear a call – now I will answer – forsake my all to serve another. I see a light – now I will follow!”  These are some of the lyrics to this affirming and upbeat song.

I Know the Lord Laid His Hand on Me

arr. Ron Smail

SATB a cappella    $2.25    CP 1213  duration – 1:55   
Ron writes exciting and approachable arrangements for his church choir. This one is full of happiness and conviction.

I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me

arr. Ron Smail

SATB a cappella    $2.50    CP 1152  duration – 4:00
This is a great welcoming opener for any concert. There’s a tent meetin’ t’night, brothers and sisters! This arrangement of a traditional spiritual will touch hearts and move people out of their seats!

Log Drivers' Waltz

by Wade Hemsworth    arr. Ron Smail

SATB a cappella    $2.35    CP 1029  duration – 2:30   
SSA a cappella    $2.35      CP 1030
SAB with piano   $2.35    CP 1522
TTBB with piano    $2.35    CP 1523
A show-stopper of a piece! Imagine waltzing around a log boom on the rushing river! This work is a piece of Canadiana, – funny and exciting.

Make and Break Harbour

by Stan Rogers    arr. Ron Smail

SATB & piano  $2.50 (opt. instr)    CP 1031  duration – 4:25   
TTBB & piano  $2.50 (opt. instr)    CP 1508  duration – 4:25

Ron has given Stan Roger’s poignant classic a solid and approachable choral rendition. 
In Make and Break Harbour the boats are so few
Too many are pulled up and rotten.
Most houses stand empty old nets hung to dry
Are blown away lost and forgotten
Optional violin, guitar, and bass parts are available upon request.

Maple Leaf Forever, The

arr. Ron Smail

TTBB    $2.35    CP 1109  duration – 4:00
SATB    $2.35    CP 1669
A fabulous arrangement by a very experienced composer. Before the arrival of “O Canada”, this patriotic song was Canada’s unofficial national anthem. In 1997 it received new lyrics by V. Radian, who won a contest run by CBC for the express purpose of finding new lyrics.

Northwest Passage, the

by Stan Rogers    arr. Ron Smail

TTBB    $2.35    CP 1681  duration – 4:10   
SATB    $2.35    CP 1669
Stan Rogers was a fabulous story-teller. Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition through unnavigated frigid waters was a disaster. The entire expedition, comprising 129 mean including Franklin, was lost. Smail’s arrangement is a hearty sing for any choir.

There’s a Meetin‘ Here Tonight

arr. Ron Smail

TTBB    $2.35    CP 1196  duration – 2:05
SATB    $2.35    CP 1238
A rousing concert opener! “Some come to dance, some come to play, some merely come to pass time away. Some come to laugh, their voices do ring – but as for me, I come for to sing!”

Watching the Apples Grow

by Stan Rogers    arr. Ron Smail

SATB    piano (opt. instr)    $2.50    CP 1125   duration – 2:15   
TBB      piano (opt. instr)    $2.50    CP 1223
Another of our favorite combinations  a popular tune by Stan Rogers with a very upbeat choral arrangement by Ron Smail. This rollicking hoedown-type tune compares the joy and freedom of growing apples in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia with life in the big city. Guess who wins? The rhythms are challenging but easily learned, the words come fast but easy, and the harmonies have that special Smail touch. 
Optional violin, guitar, and bass parts are available upon request.