URGENT: Need suggestions for festival and theory

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    I’m halfway through my first year in a new school (26-year veteran) where I’m teaching middle school chorus full time (I’m a trained band director-turned GM teacher-now ended up in choral to get out of urban public school). I was hired late last summer and had 2 weeks of district orientation that completely thwarted any chance of long-term planning for the year. I survived 2 ridiculously complicated fund raisers, the fall and winter concerts, and a trip to Disney World. I was exhausted (also single mom of 2) and needed these past 2 weeks to completely decompress. Oh, and clean my house. Now, we start back on Monday and I haven’t followed through on my intention of having second semester planned out. We have the state festival in March and Spring Concerts in May. Of the 2 festival pieces, one has to come from a state list (Georgia) and the other is my choice (I think…first time to do this in GA). There is also sight reading. So in desperation, I’m asking my NAFME colleagues for recommendations for great pieces you have performed that I could consider for my chosen pieces. Also, although I have been using “One Minute Theory” all year with 6th grade, and state sightreading samples for 7th and 8th grade, I am thinking ahead to next year and would appreciate having suggestions for a sequential theory program. I think One Minute Theory moves really slowly, but it’s difficult to skip ahead when I have kids who have never been taught to read. The previous directors didn’t do theory with 7th and 8th, just sightreading.

    So if you have music suggestions, my needs are:

    6th grade treble chorus
    7th grade treble chorus
    7th grade mixed chorus (5 boys, 2 changed and 3 unchanged)
    7th grade treble chorus
    8th grade mixed chorus (4 boys, all changed but the Christmas concert was their first one singing an independent part)
    8th grade treble chorus

    Thankfully the previous directors were wonderful (as people and musicians) and the students are in pretty good shape. My biggest challenge is not being a pianist at all and having to practice then pick out their individual parts. They learn them way faster than I can play them, and I have to rely on rehearsal CDs for accompaniment.

    My apologies for the length. I am just lost in knowing how to choose appropriate choral literature for the festivals. I have looked at the previous director’s choices but really am not sure what I’m looking for. I know what I would look for in band, and I’m trying to transfer and apply that knowledge, but would still appreciate hearing your ideas.

    Thanks very much, and hope no one else is last-minute planning like this 🙁


    Here are some pieces I’ve had success with at Music Performance Assessment/Festival.

    6th grade treble- Wind on the Hill- Victoria Ebel Sabo
    Dance of the Willow- Victoria Ebel Sabo
    Animalia- Reisdorff
    Deux Poules Francaises- Sheila Donahue
    Dormi Dormi- Mary Goetze

    7th/8th grade treble- Now I Walk in Beauty- Colligan
    Tarantella- Bobetsky
    A Time for Singing- Messick
    The Old Carrion Crow- Mary Goetze

    Have you thought about combining your 7th and 8th grade treble choruses?

    Hope this helps! 🙂


    I haven’t taught this grade level for years, but I have good friends who do. If you email me at ahamre@csufresno.edu, I will try to connect you to my colleagues who might be able to offer advice.

    Anna Hamre, DMA
    Member, NAfME Choir Council

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