Choral Sound Bites

Where to hear high quality choral performances? MENC members recently discussed on the MENC forums how they start their classes each day, and listening to choral performances was one shared suggestion.

Why listen? Maybe you want to inspire your students or just hear how a piece will sound. Maybe you want to compare different choirs singing the same piece. While it’s easy to find recordings of adult choirs singing pieces, it’s not always so easy to find superior recordings or performances by school or youth choirs.

Here are some suggestions from the discussion:

  • Any college/university CD recording: Most have excellent choral recordings, and, they’re often free. Contact the music departments and request a CD to be sent to you for educational purposes, listening. Most colleges want to promote their school and program anyway, so it’s worth a try!
  • State or national convention/conference: You might be able to pick up some CDs by college groups or other school groups attending the conference. Also, follow up with your state MEA to find out about state or regional honors group festival recordings.
  • U.S. Army Soldiers’ Chorus They have free educational recordings available, and these recordings come with lesson plans.
  • The Brigham Young University Singers: quality performance every time

Online Services:

  • You can download mp3 recordings, but quality may be questionable.
  • Itunes: Many professional choirs (e.g. Robert Shaw) available
  • You may have to search a bit to find worthwhile performances, but they’re out there. All grade levels, types of choirs (show, classical, etc.) You can even search by music title. You might just find a performance of a piece you are working on. You can easily compare how one school does a particular piece, as YouTube will bring up additional links of schools/groups doing the same piece of music that you originally searched for.
  • SchoolTube has self-selected postings; you may have to sort through them to find what’s worth hearing.

Google SEARCH: Use the term YOUTH CHOIRS and you’ll be surprised how many groups are returned. Many have audio files on their site and recordings for sale. Sometimes entire performances are available online for downloading for educational and choral evaluation purposes.

Three from a Google search:

Other Sites Recommended for Listening Exploration:

MENC forum posts by “klottr70,” “Scimmia,” “AP,” “gworkman,” “Birdsong,” and “Drummer Boy” provided information for this article.

Next WeekMiddle School Muddle

–Sue Rarus, August 12, 2009, © National Association for Music Education