SONGS FOR THE SANCTUARY
music for the church choir
Dr. Joy Berg, with her two passions of choral conducting and worship – the foci of her two doctorates – has collected many beautiful, interesting, moving, and accessible selections for church choirs for the Cypress catalogue. In thinking about the church choir, Joy says, “These choices were made to offer quality choral music into the worship service; music which is designed for the smaller or less-advanced choir. These choices are unique and interesting. They wed text and music so well. They can fit into various places within a worship service and church year. They are fine examples of sensitive and careful choral writing. I am really excited for you to listen to the recordings, while studying the scores online, and find many new and accessible choices for your choir!”
Come Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs
SATB with piano or organ – KH 024 – duration 2:30
Winnagene has created a powerful anthem in canon form that really soars with joy!
Come, let us join our cheerful songs With angels round the throne;
Ten thousand, thousand are their tongues, But all their joys are one!
Come Unto Me
SATB with piano and violin – LN 1975 – duration 2:55
Larry wrote this anthem in 1973, inspired by Bach’s Prelude in C. Little did his imagine that the song would still be sung many years later. In Matthew 11 – Christ invites us to rest from the stresses of life. The violin part works well with flute, clarinet or oboe.
SAB with piano or organ – CP 1904 – duration 3:35
Cypress is gradually building an Easter collection. Christ’s resurrection is the pivotal event of all history. His sacrifice on the cross – redemption for all humankind. It’s not easy to sing about the gruesome death. Gordon’s sensitive composition is approachable for any choir.
SAB with piano or band – CP 1057 – duration 3:50
TTBB with piano or band – CP 1058
A beautiful arrangement of a favorite Canadian carol, this can be done with piano or a Celtic band, and parts for penny-whistle (flute), violin, guitar, and bass are available.
Kyrie and To You I Lift My Voice
SATB a cappella – KH 107 – duration 3:00
Lord Have Mercy. Stephen’s Kyrie uses long lines with suspension and release moments to create a wonderful pleading in the choral sound. “To You I Lift My Voice” would make a fitting introit. Related in theme as earnest prayers, they can be sung one after the other – or separately. Each piece is approachable and very practical. Choirs will love them.
Lead Me, Lord
arr. Bryn Nixon
SATB a cappella – CP 1953 – duration 2:45
Using the first verse of this Wesley hymn, Nixon arranges the text so that, for each of the two sections, a soloist (supported by the choir underneath) sings out the text first, followed by a reiteration from the choir – with chords and movement slightly varied from the soloist’s section. A beautiful prayer.
Lead me forth., Lead me in thy righteousness.
Make Thy way plain before my face.
The Lord is My Light
SATB a cappella – CP 1171 – duration 2:10
Jane Best’s composition is a musical gem – suitable for any choir that enjoys singing in four part harmony. The uplifting message, sweet spot vocal registers and gentle swing rhythms will stir the listener. Church choirs will love it too!
Make a Joyful Noise/Bwana
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!
O Source of All
SATB with piano – CP 1203 – duration 3:05
People love the way Brian’s music can be thoughtful and deeply spiritual without being preachy. This gorgeous anthem is easily taught – easily assimilated – and would make an effective opener or closer to almost any concert.
O Taste and See
by Jeff Enns
SATB with organ or piano – KH 081 – duration 1:55
The text guides the music for Enns’ writing in this 4-part choral piece that could be used for introit to the service, for communion, or for All Saints Sunday. A very accessible and smartly-crafted piece for the church choir, using this text from Psalm 34.
O taste and see
how gracious the Lord is
The Peace of God
SATB a cappella – CP 1990 – duration 2:55
This a cappella setting of the familiar benediction from Philippians is easily accessible for choirs of all levels and sizes – it has been effectively performed by groups ranging from a solo quartet to choirs of over 100. It is a moving piece for a wedding, worship service, or concert. The setting is emotionally evocative, with lush harmonies, accessible counterpoint rewarding for each part, and a satisfying climax. Recent listeners commented: “by far one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve heard in a long time…” and “beautiful…brought tears to my eyes.”
The peace of God, that passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
be amongst you, and remain with you always.
Prayer of St. Francis
SAB with piano – KH 086 – duration 2:35
Lord make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Togni’s rendition of the famous prayer is in three part harmony and sweet-pot vocal registers. The lovely melody and flowing accompaniment provide the perfect marriage for the text.
Singing, God Gives Me a Melody
SATB with piano – CP 1574 – duration 3:15
This composition was first heard in coffeehouses, during the 1970’s. Harris created a real beauty – a song of praise – which is finally being offered to choirs so many years later.
Tantum Ergo - Alleluia
SSA, TBB, SAB a cappella – CP 1216 – duration 1:55
Two wonderful compositions for the price of one and any combination of voices can sound fantastic! Tantum ergo are the opening words of the last two verses of Pange Lingua, a Mediaeval Latin hymn written by St Thomas Aquinas.