Oldies but goodies for the holidays!

July through September is typically when most choirs endeavor to plan the programs for their holiday concerts. And for artistic directors and chorus singers who have discovered the YRM catalog fairly recently, we thought it might be helpful to provide lists of those holiday pieces which have proven to be the best-selling and most popular. Perhaps even loyal customers may find that information to be of use. So, after a careful and thorough review of sales reports… here they are (for each voicing – mixed, men’s chorus and women’s chorus, with titles listed alphabetically)!

SATB Most Popular_

CHRISTMAS (ORIGINAL WORDS and/or MUSIC)

YR1213v2 Christmas Brunch (Sturgis/Johnson)
YR1212v2 Coming Out on Christmas (Sturgis/Johnson)
YR2301v2 Christmas is the Warmest Time of the Year (Hall/Mamey)
YR1117v2 If Not At Christmas (MacDuff/Henderson)
YR1401.2v1 Shines a Star (Perry/Carlson)
YR3508v2 This Holiday (Steve Milloy)
YR3102v2 Tomorrow Shall Be My Shopping Day (Sturgis/Moore)
YR1J17v2 What a Gay ‘Ol Christmas Tree (Ravetch/Judd)
YR9115 The Work of Christmas (Thurman/Hardin)
YR1103v2 You’re Home for the Holidays (Daggett/Henderson)

CHRISTMAS (ARRANGEMENTS)

YR1N11 All Hayle to the Days (Elizabeth Norton)
YR8700 Carol of the Bells (Leontovich/Saladino)
YR5505 Hark! (in ⅞) (Mendelssohn/Landau)
YR3501v2 In the Spirit (Three Spirituals) (Steve Milloy)
YR7700 O Tannenbaum (Oh Christmas Tree) (Glenn M. Carlos)

HANUKKAH

YR1121v2 Flame of Faith (Marcus/Henderson)
YR7121v2 Flames So Bright at Chanukah (Dennis W. Rosenbaum)
YR6701v2 For All To See (Jerald Thomas Hawhee)
YR2600v2 Three Hanukkah Songs (Charles Baker)
YR3131v2 Likhtelekh (Light the Lamps) (Bachlund/Moore)

KWANZAA

YR5203v2 Harambee (Joseph Jennings)
YR2508 Kwanzaa Spirit (Ginger Starling)

WINTER SOLSTICE/SEASON

YR1109 Circle Dance (Gwiazdowsky/Henderson)
YR1401.1 Hymn of Winter (Longfellow/Carlson)
YR6204v2 Kore Evohe (Kelleher/Schrag)
YR9916v2 The Longest Night (Middleton/Shelton)
YR9305v2 A New December (David Frank Long)
YR1600v2 A Season for Lovers (John-Michael Albert)
YR6407v2 Solstice Carol (Diane Benjamin)
YR4304v2 Song of the Solstice (Near/Langley)
YR1112v1 Under the Holly Bough (Mackay/Henderson)
YR9301v2 Winter Solstice Moon (David Frank Long)

TTBB Most Popular_

CHRISTMAS (ORIGINAL WORDS and/or MUSIC)

YR1212v1 Coming Out on Christmas (Sturgis/Johnson)
YR3507 The Davey Dinckle Song (Crom/Milloy)
YR1011v1 Fa la la (Blah blah blah) (MacDuff/Bourland)
YR9713 Homo for the Holidays (Strangis/Smith)
YR1117v1 If Not At Christmas (MacDuff/Henderson)
YR3R11 Santa, Won’t You Please Come Back (Pingree/Richardson)
YR3508v1 This Holiday (Steve Milloy)
YR3102v1 Tomorrow Shall Be My Shopping Day (Sturgis/Moore)
YR1200 Welcome! Sing, Be Merry! (Dean X. Johnson)
YR1103v1 You’re Home for the Holidays (Daggett/Henderson)

CHRISTMAS (ARRANGEMENTS)

YR3113P Appalachian Carols (Larry Moore)
YR3504v2 Behold That Star! (Steve Milloy)
YR3817 Three Christmas Carols (Eric Helmuth)
YR7500 God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Alex Rybeck)
YR8202 Hallelujah Chorus (Handel’s “Messiah”) (Ralph R. Hays)
YR3110 The Holly and the Ivy (Larry Moore)
YR3124 Masters in This Hall (Larry Moore)
YR3303 O Holy Night (J.A. Kawarsky)
YR1C11 Procesión jíbara (Puertorican Carol) (Edgar Colón-Hernández)
YR4903 There Shall a Star (Mendelssohn/Trinkley)

HANUKKAH

YR6101 Dreidel A-Go-Go (Jeffrey Moidel)
YR1102 Hanukkah (Gerson/Henderson)
YR1903 Hanukkah Blessings (David York)
YR2600v1 Three Hanukkah Songs (Charles Baker)
YR2L13v1P Oseh Shalom (Paul Leavitt)

KWANZAA

YR5203v1 Harambee (Joseph Jennings)

WINTER SOLSTICE/SEASON

YR9305v1 A New December (David Frank Long)
YR1600v1 A Season for Lovers (John-Michael Albert)
YR2403v1 Triumphant Light Fanfare and Hymn (Donald Skirvin)
YR1112v1 Under the Holly Bough (Mackay/Henderson)
YR9301v1 Winter Solstice Moon (David Frank Long)

SSAA Most Popular_

CHRISTMAS (ORIGINAL WORDS and/or MUSIC)

YR1213v3 Christmas Brunch (Sturgis/Johnson)
YR1212v3 Coming Out on Christmas (Sturgis/Johnson)
YR1011v3 Fa la la (Blah blah blah) (MacDuff/Bourland)
YR3508v3 This Holiday (Steve Milloy)
YR4321 Why Oh Why (Joan Szymko)

CHRISTMAS (ARRANGEMENTS)

YR4012 Angels We Have Heard On High (Naomi Stephan)
YR4014 In Dulci Jubilo (Naomi Stephan)
YR3501v3 In the Spirit (Three Spirituals) (Steve Milloy)
YR9107 Maria durch ein Dornwald ging (Clif Hardin)
YR1C12v2 Tres Estrellitas (Three Little Stars) (Edgar Colón-Hernández)

HANUKKAH

YR6701v3 For All To See (Jerald Thomas Hawhee)
YR2600v3 Three Hanukkah Songs (Charles Baker)
YR6700v3 Nes Gadol Haya Sham (Jerald Thomas Hawhee)

KWANZAA

YR5203v3 Harambee (Joseph Jennings)

WINTER SOLSTICE/SEASON

YR6204v1 Kore Evohe (Kelleher/Schrag)
YR9916v3 The Longest Night (Middleton/Shelton)
YR9305v3 A New December (David Frank Long)
YR3406v1 Sacred Circle (Ruth Huber)
YR6407v1 Solstice Carol (Diane Benjamin)
YR1112v1 Under the Holly Bough (Mackay/Henderson)
YR9301v3 Winter Solstice Moon (David Frank Long)

Long/Sobrack: Marrying on Christmas Day

Publisher | choral music,christmas (secular),gay & lesbian,humor,men's,YRM | Friday, June 6th, 2014

On the heels of President Barack Obama’s proclamation earlier this week declaring June as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, news comes today that seven couples have officially filed lawsuits against North Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban. This means that the fight for marriage equality has now been brought to EVERY SINGLE STATE in the U.S.A. that doesn’t already acknowledge same-sex marriage rights.

It is remarkable how much progress has been made in the past few years!

The occasion seems appropriate to share a performance of Marrying on Christmas Day by the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus in 2012. Their whimsical and joyful rendition (complete with choreography!) was made at a time when same-sex marriage was illegal in Oregon. Now, not quite two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to halt same-sex weddings in that state. The legal battle isn’t done, but it is clear that marriage equality continues to gain greater and more solid ground.

There is no overtly political tone in Marrying on Christmas Day (Lyrics by John Sobrack/Music by David Frank Long). It is simply taken as a given that a gay couple should be able to marry. After a humorous argument over whether or not Christmas is really the best day for a wedding, the couple realizes that ultimately what truly matters is love.

We’re marrying on Christmas Day.
It’s a dream come true:
Domestic partner wedding rendezvous.
Marrying on Christmas Day.
Side by side our lives have just begun
Where two hearts have become as one.

Partial score (PDF)

Rick Crom: The Davey Dinckle Song (arranged by Steve Milloy)

Publisher | choral music,christmas (secular),humor,men's | Friday, June 28th, 2013

You know it isn’t wise to eat yellow snow, right?

One of YRM’s most unusual… and HILARIOUS… holiday offerings is a piece for TTBB, solos and piano titled The Davey Dinckle Song, written by Rick Crom and arranged by Steve Milloy. The Denver Gay Men’s Chorus performed it on their Holiday Concert 2011.

Here’s a clip of that performance on YouTube!

When it is summertime and your mind is on holiday music…

holiday
For many choral directors, the holidays REALLY begin in the summer as they consider what music to program for their upcoming concerts in November and December. It can be tricky trying to focus on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice when you’re dealing with July-August heat, vacations, and fireworks!

YRM customers frequently inquire, “What’s new in the catalog regarding holiday music?”

So, here’s a breakdown of the latest additions from the past three years (Click on the voicings to see a few pages from each score as PDFs. For those pieces which were featured in our 2010 Holiday Sampler, the links will take you directly to that download page):

All Hayle to the Days YR1N11 – traditional English carol arranged by Elizabeth Norton. SATB a cappella. Category: Christmas/Winter season

Campana Sobre Campana YR1C18v1-3 – traditional Andalucian carol arranged by Edgar Colón-Hernández. TTBB, SATB or SSAA a cappella. Category: Christmas

Christmas is a Season YR4C11 – original music and words by Jennifer Covert. SSAA, cello, piano and sleigh bells. Category: Christmas

Christmas Wish, A YR1D12 – original music and words by Ann MacDonald Diers. SATB a cappella. Category: Christmas/General holiday

Davey Dinckle Song, The YR3507 – original song by Rick Crom, arranged by Steve Milloy. TTBB, solos and piano. Caategory: Christmas/humor

Festive Joy and Peace YR3C11P – original song by Rich Cook and Cathy Bridges, arranged by Rich Cook. TTBB and piano. Category: General holiday

Marrying on Christmas Day YR9307- original words by John Sobrack and music by David Frank Long. TTBB (with optional soloists) and piano. Category: Christmas/humor

Mary’s First Lullaby YR5S13 – original music and words by Jonathan Santore. SATB and cello or piano. Category: Christmas

Peace In Your Heart YR2D11v1-2 – original music and words by Michael Davis. TTBB or SATB and piano. Category: General holiday

Still, Still, Still YR3C12 – traditional Austrian carol arranged by Rich Cook. TTBB a cappella with tenor solo. Category: Christmas

These Holidays! YR2D12v1-2 – original music and words by Michael Davis. TTBB or SATB a cappella. Category: General holiday

This Holiday YR3508v1-3 – original music and words by Steve Milloy. TTB, SAB or SSA and piano w optional guitar, bass and drums. Category: General holiday

Together This Christmas YR7502 – original words by Barbara Fried / music by Alex Rybeck. Solos, TTBB and piano. Category: Christmas

Winter Blessing YR5M12v1-3 – original music and words by Lynn Fisher McCanne. TTBB, SATB or SSAA a cappella. Category: Solstice/Winter Season

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Upcoming holiday concerts featuring YRM pieces!!

huntington-mens-chorus

The Huntington Men’s Chorus
www.huntingtonmenschorus.com
Thomas W. Jones, Conductor

Date/Time: Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.
Location: Huntington High School Auditorium, Huntington, NY

Featuring: If Not at Christmas (Music by Scott Henderson, Lyrics by William MacDuff)

Quarryland Men’s Chorus
www.quarryland.org
Barry Magee, Artistic Director

Date/Time: Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 4:00 p.m.
Location: First United Church, Bloomington, IN

Featuring: what matters (song by Randi Driscoll, arranged by Kevin Robison)
Enjoy Your Life (Music by Diane Benjamin, Lyrics by Barbara McAffee and D. Benjamin)
The Davey Dinckle Song (Song by Rick Crom, arranged by Steve Milloy)

Special note from Barry Magee: “Using the title of Randi Driscoll’s song as a prompt, I ask the men of the chorus to tell me what matters in their lives. Based on those responses I developed seven themes: music, loving community, enjoying life, holidays, mentoring and learning, faith, and friends. From this I choose two or three songs for each theme. Chorus members will read selections of what they wrote to introduce each theme. It fits the spirit of the holidays but it doesn’t limit use to just doing holiday music. “

Des Moines Diversity Chorus
www.desmoinesdiversitychorus.org
Julie Murphy, Artistic Director

Date/Time: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Grace Lutheran Church, Des Moines, IA

Date/Time: Monday, December 13, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.
Location: Wesley Acres Retirement Center, Des Moines, IA

Featuring: Winter Solstice Moon (Music and words by David Frank Long)
A New December (Music and words by David Frank Long)

Special note from Julie Murphy: “The name of our concert is ‘Season of Light.’ Music is drawn from diverse sources using texts that cross religious and ethnic boundaries. As the darkness of winter enfolds us, we sing of light, the symbol of peace, love, faith and joy, in hope that this light will continue to brighten our world.”

New Wave Singers of Baltimore
www.newwavesingers.org
Adam Koch, Artistic Director

Date/Time: Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.
Location: Bolton Street Synagogue, Baltimore, MD

Featuring: Christmas Brunch (Music by Dean X. Johnson, Lyrics by Craig Sturgis)
Coming Out on Christmas (Music by Dean X. Johnson, Lyrics by Craig Sturgis)

Special note: The New Wave Singers are celebrating their 25th anniversary year! They were founded in 1985 and continue to thrive and grow.

Aurora Chorus
www.aurorachorus.org
Joan Szymko, Artistic Director

Date/Time: Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
Date/Time: Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.
Location: Lincoln Hall Auditorium, PSU campus, Portland, OR
Guest Artist: Claudia Schmidt

Featuring: Coming Out on Christmas (Music by Dean X. Johnson, Lyrics by Craig Sturgis)

UUCC of Washington County Choir
www.uuccwc.org
Allison Wilski, Music Director

Date/Time: Friday, December 24, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Hillsboro, OR

Featuring Elizabeth Norton’s arrangement of All Hayle to the Days

Are you in a chorus that will be performing music published by Yelton Rhodes on an upcoming concert? Please let us know about it (david@yrmusic.com) and we’ll promote your concert on Choralicious as well as on our Facebook page!

Michael Davis: Peace In Your Heart

Publisher | choral music,christmas (secular),men's,mixed,uu,winter solstice | Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

peace
It’s the first full week of October! Most choruses have already started their fall rehearsal season, many in anticipation of an upcoming holiday concert this December. Some of those choruses may still be figuring out their program… and that’s where this blog tends to come in handy! 🙂

YRM put out holiday samplers earlier this summer featuring all of our newest publications. This blog can go even further, however, in giving you a little additional insight to some of those pieces.

To start… I’d like to introduce you to a new YRM writer, Michael Davis, and his recently published Peace In Your Heart (A Holiday Carol). This vibrant, up-tempo work has a touch of jazz attitude, and offers a positive message for the holiday season.

Michael shared the following thoughts about composing this piece:

I wrote Peace In Your Heart for the 2008 holiday carol competition sponsored by the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. The theme was “peace” and I didn’t want to write the slow, pretty song with a flute solo that I imagined people would expect from me (I’m a flutist, LOL). I thought that there would already plenty of those kinds of songs on the program and that something with a little more attitude and bite would have a better chance of being selected.

My plan worked. It won, and they sang it more beautifully than I could ever imagine. Some people even told me it was their favorite song on the program (no small compliment with some of the master works the chorus sang on that concert).

I wanted to convey the message that embracing diversity could be a path to inner peace, but I didn’t want to preach. I think I achieved that by asking questions instead of issuing statements. Hopefully, I wasn’t too subtle. Above all I wanted to write a fun song. If it doesn’t make people move and smile, then I’d be very disappointed.

By the way, it looks a lot harder than it actually is because of the jazz/blues influence. One guy in the chorus told me it “scared” him when he first saw it, but the words flow with the music very well and when he figured it out it was a piece of cake.

I hope to see a video one day with lots of diversity and hilarious costumes.

Peace In Your Heart (A Holiday Carol) is available in both SATB and TTBB voicings (click on the links to check out the first and last few pages of each score as PDFs).

Listen to Michael DavisPeace In Your Heart (A Holiday Carol) as performed by the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus:
[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/davis.michael/peace.in.your.heart.mp3]

Karlan Judd: What a Gay ‘Ol Christmas Tree

Publisher | choral music,christmas (secular),composers,gay & lesbian,humor,men's,mixed | Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

gay ol tree

For those who celebrate Christmas, there’s the fond memory of being kids and giving Santa a wish list of items they’d like to see under the tree come Christmas morning. But why should kids get all the fun? Why should this experience be relegated to our pre-pubescent years only?

Composer Karlan Judd and lyricist Joshua Ravetch had this idea in mind when asked to create a piece for the West Coast Singers, to be performed on their winter concert. Imagine being at an holiday party for adults and someone asks you to share your Christmas wish list. You do so with gleeful joy… just as if you were a kid. Now, imagine that party with a queer twist, and you have What a Gay ‘Ol Christmas Tree.

Adapted from a traditional melody, the mixed chorus version of this piece was new to the YRM catalog last year. But Karlan Judd recently created a version specifically adapted for men’s chorus as well. It’s “hot off the printing press” this week! You can peruse the first and last few pages (as downloadable PDFs) of both the men’s chorus and the mixed chorus versions by clicking on the links.

Karlan composed and arranged two other pieces for the same West Coast Singers concert which are published by Yelton Rhodes: This Time Next Year (based on Auld Lang Syne but with a contemporary text) and The Twelve Gays of Christmas (a traditional favorite also with a queer twist!).

What a Gay ‘Ol Christmas Tree (as performed by the West Coast Singers)

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/judd.karlan/gay.ol.christmas.mp3]

Neal Richardson: Santa, Won’t You Please Come Back

Publisher | choral music,christmas (secular),composers,humor,men's | Friday, June 29th, 2007

Santa cap

Santa has a big job ahead of him on Christmas Eve, what with all those toys to deliver. It must be a long night of anticipation for Mrs. Claus as well. But what if Santa didn’t come home the next morning? How would his wife feel… especially if she happened to be pining for a little attention from her man?

Neal Richardson‘s original composition, Santa, Won’t You Please Come Back, with lyrics by John Pingree, addresses that issue in a hilarious way! Written for soprano solo, men’s chorus and piano, this delightful piece proceeds almost as a call and response between the chorus and the soloist, whose lines are to be sung in a sexy, slow, bluesy style.

Santa, won’t you please come back!

You left a redhot mama in an igloo shack.

I sit here wondrin’ where the heck you’ve been.

I finished off the egg nog, started in on the gin.

The elves are bangin’ on my door each night.

They ain’t the Seven Dwarves, and I ain’t Snow White.

Without my sugar Santy, I shiver in our shanty.

Santa, won’t you please come back!

Mixed choruses shouldn’t count this one out… just have your men do a number on their own and spotlight one of your best sopranos. This piece offers a lot of opportunities to really ham up the performance and make your audience laugh!
View the first six pages of score here.

Santa, Won’t You Please Come Back (Gateway Men’s Chorus featuring Christine Brewer)

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/richardson.neal/YR3R11.santa.mp3]

Bourland and MacDuff: Crocodile’s Christmas Ball

Publisher | animals,choral music,christmas (secular),composers,men's,mixed | Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Croc Xmas Ball

Looking for something FUN to include on your holiday program?

Crocodile’s Christmas Ball (from a larger 8 movement work titled Crocodile’s Christmas Ball and other odd tales) was originally composed for baritone solo, SATB chorus and wind ensemble. Understandably enough, not many choruses have easy access to a wind ensemble. So, composer Roger Bourland has created a piano-vocal score for this fabulously fun Christmas romp.

There’s a little bit of dark humour in the work (think Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas). Here’s an excerpt from William MacDuff‘s witty, tongue-in-cheek lyrics:

The moral is that when you
Attend a table d’hote,
Be sure to check the menu
Before you check your coat.

Beware of eager strangers
Too full of Christmas cheer,
For Christmas has its dangers
Like any time of year.

In Santa’s suit
A croc is cute
But he’s an ani-mall.
He’ll have your hide
Sautéed or fried

At the Crocodile’s Christmas Ball!

Click here to view the first 5 pages of score as a PDF.

There’s also a voicing available for men’s chorus.

Crocodile’s Christmas Ball (recording from the performance featuring baritone soloist, SATB chorus and wind ensemble)

[audio:http://yrmusic.com/audio/bourland.roger/crocodiles.xmas.ball.mp3]

Eric Helmuth: The Mahogany Tree

Publisher | choral music,christmas (secular),men's,winter season | Friday, June 15th, 2007

Mahogany tree

When you think of a mahogany tree, you might predictably imagine a mighty trunk with leafy branches above, right?

Well, you wouldn’t quite be hitting the mark if one was referring to this piece by Eric Helmuth. Mahogany was a very popular wood in England, imported from the Americas. It was used for fine furniture, in particular the dining table which was commonly known as “the mahogany tree.”

And although one may not suspect that this piece is holiday-themed… it is! With lyrics by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), Helmuth’s The Mahogany Tree, for TTBB and piano, is a boisterous, joyful depiction of a group of men gathered around the table as they sing, drink and toast to each other and to the Christmas season.

Here’s an excerpt from the text:

Once on the boughs, birds of great plume
Sang in its bloom:
Night birds are we: here we carouse singing like them,
Perched round the stem of the jolly old tree.

One particularly special aspect of this piece is Eric’s energetic and brilliant piano accompaniment.

To view the first four pages of the score, click here.

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