August 4, 2021

New and exciting choral music for Advent and Christmas

New choral music for Advent and Christmas

Discover new music for your choir from the Choral Review Service. With songs of varying difficulty, instrumentation and style, the Choral Review Service will introduce you to inspiring, seasonal choral works from respected liturgical composers three times per year. Below are just a few examples of the music within this year’s Advent and Christmas packet, plus a detailed description and insight on how to use each piece.

Litany of Peace
Dan Schutte

Difficulty level: Easy/Medium
Voicing: SAB Choir, Cantor
Instrumentation: Keyboard, Guitar

Originally composed as a processional for an interfaith service, this litany is a prayer for peace. Schutte writes, “We allow God to do the peace work in us first, so that we can bring peace to others.” There is a simple assembly response to the varied invocations of the cantor(s). To maintain musical interest over the fifteen verses, multiple accompaniment options are available: keyboard, guitar, SAB choir, and suggested portable percussion.

My Soul Rejoices
Sarah Hart

Difficulty level: Easy/Medium
Voicing: Three-part Choir
Instrumentation: Keyboard, Guitar, Solo

This contemporary setting of the Magnificat allows us the opportunity to echo Mary’s words of praise to God. Its foursquare rhythms punctuated by easy syncopations will be easily learned by assemblies. It is scored for three-part choir and features simple but effective accompaniment parts for piano, guitar and solo instrument in C. It is especially appropriate for Advent but could be effectively used as a song of praise throughout the year.

Salve Regina
Michael Joncas

Difficulty level: Difficult

This is a beautiful, meditative setting of the Marian antiphon scored for unaccompanied double choir. The slow, contemplative nature of the piece gives the listener the sense of being gently awash in color and harmony. Joncas uses the original chant throughout the work, giving it to one voice or another while the remaining singers serve as accompaniment.

Virgencita del Tepeyac/Virgin of Tepeyac
José Luis Castillo

Difficulty level: Easy/Medium
Voicing: SATB Choir or Two-part Choir
Instrumentation: Keyboard, Guitar

Your assembly will be ready to bring the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe to life with this beautiful song, a favorite of the Spanish-speaking community for over two decades. Translated here into English by Pedro Rubalcava, it will enhance bilingual worship for this important Marian feast. Written as a cumbia, the refrain melody begins slowly and steadily builds toward the verses. The lyrics describe singing to the Virgin, showering her with admiration and loving titles.

What do you See in the Manger
Steven Ottományi, M.D. Ridge

Difficulty level: Easy/Medium
Voicing: SATB Choir
Instrumentation: Piano, Guitar, Recorder, Glockenspiel, Finger Cymbals

This charming piece about the Nativity of Jesus is based on a French folk song that uses only four notes. Varied choral voicings (including a refrain that is singable by children’s chorus), differing keyboard textures and supplemental instrument parts keep the music fresh and buoyant throughout. This will be a welcome addition to your choir’s repertoire of accessible Christmas music.

Of the Father's Love Begotten
Christopher Walker

Difficulty level: Easy/Medium
Voicing: SAB Choir, Descant
Instrumentation: Keyboard, Guitar, Solo

With a flexible SAB or SA choral format (adding descant on the fourth verse), this lovely arrangement of the well-known hymn tune DIVINUM MYSTERIUM is ideal for smaller choirs. Because it is set in a compound meter rather than the equal note values of traditional plainchant, Walker’s arrangement has a fluid, lilting quality that will be easily followed by assemblies. The keyboard accompaniment is especially well suited for organ.

Explore more music from this season's edition


Child of Sweetness [Octavo]

John Karl Hirten, Alexander Bogolepov

Salmo 33 Gusten y Vean-Psalm 34 Taste and See [Octavo]

Estela García-López, Rodolfo López

O Loving God [Octavo]

Rick Modlin, Paulette McCoy

We Thank You Lord [Octavo]

Randall DeBruyn, Remi Fonseca Bauer