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[HANASHIR:17183] Re: Beginning Junior Choir

I have been directing a Youth Choir with this age group for twelve years, at 
a large Reform temple. For the first few years, choir met for the last 15 
minutes of the session, and ran about another 15 minutes. Then we started with 
double sessions, and choir kids came every week for 40 minutes, the last period 
of first session, before the service, and they had to do second session 
religious school. Now we're on a different format, where grades 3-6 have 3 
periods of 
electives during their 2 hours each week, and they choose choir if they want 
- I had about 45 kids this year, which is the most I've ever had.

The only type of service'/event I have not had kids sing for is High Holy 
Days, but I can certainly suggest places to look for music. Just as in secular 
choir, you want to focus on having them sing in unison. I always start with 
choral warm ups - fun ones, as well. Then you can move into canons (rounds) and 
then into simple part music, which most of us never have enough rehearsal time 
to accomplish.

Pieces: I've used lots of Debbie Friedman stuff; Craig Taubman's Yad B'Yad  
and Shir Hama'alot are great, Steve Dropkin has a few easy, great pieces that 
are easy to learn;(Hinei Ma Tov; Light To The Nations; Sim Shalom); lots of 
traditional songs - a great round is Havanashira, or Lo Yisa Goy - both the 
traditional one and the Ay o one - I then put in the english - And every man 
his vine and fig tree, shall live in peace and unafraid. And into plough 
shares turn their swords - nations shall learn war no more; I've used a number 
Hannah T. Siegel's songs; Peri Smilow's Ashrei is a really good 3 part round; 
Jeff Klepper; (You could use "In the Beginning" for HHD, or some of Sam 
Glaser's songs from Kol Bamidbar) Carol Boyd Leon has put out two books that 
might want to look at; Peter and Ellen Allard also have some music that is very 
suitable for a young choir.   Another great song that;s a partner song is 
"Promised Land" by Natalie Sleeth - very ecumenical and the kids love it. I've 
done some songs from Maginot, and with the next one coming out soon, you'll 
be in great shape. If you have any good soloists who can sing and articulate 
well, try Noah Budin's "Hallelujah Land" for Pesach - it's a hoot trying to 
learn the words - fabulous song.

e mail me privately if you need any help. i'm off on a medical leave for the 
next two weeks and have lots of time!!!

Laura Deutsch
Congregation Beth Israel

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