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)
Yelton Rhodes Music would like to officially welcome Thomas L. Read to our family of talented composers! Thomas, a violinist as well as a composer, is a Professor of Music at the University of Vermont. He has composed music for a variety of media and almost entirely on commission- music for small ensembles, full orchestra, solo voice, chorus and musical theater.
We’re delighted to publish three of Thomas’ choral works, all of which are a cappella. His music is strongly lyrical and expressive. The texts he selected to set musically are highly passionate writings by two American poets of the romantic period, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Herman Melville.
To learn more about Thomas L. Read, click here.
Changed (for TTB chorus), with words from H. W. Longfellow’s Birds of Passage
View the first two pages of score as a PDF by clicking here.
A Parable (for SATB chorus), with words from Herman Melville’s Misgivings
View the first 6 pages of score as a PDF by clicking here.
Serenade (for TTB chorus), with words from H. W. Longfellow’s The Spanish Student
View the first 2 pages of score as a PDF by clicking here.
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)
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.
How familiar are you with that one famous drop of oil that lasted eight days and nights?
As holiday concerts become increasingly “multi-traditional”, many audiences anticipate hearing a piece that celebrates the miracle of Hanukkah. Scott Henderson‘s original composition Flame of Faith (A Hanukkah Song), with lyrics by Linda Marcus, both inspires and informs regarding the observance of this Jewish holiday. Henderson has a knack for writing elegant and engaging melodies supported by colorful harmonic progressions, and this piece exemplifies his wonderful musicality and keen sensibility regarding the treatment of text.
Flame of Faith is available for both mixed chorus and men’s chorus. Click on the links to view the first 6 pages of each score.
Today is Gay Pride Day in West Hollywood. We haven’t gone in years, not that we aren’t proud, it’s just, well, we don’t go any more.
Last night before I heard the premiere of Paul Chihara’s terrific new choral work, MAGNIFICAT, I went to Basix, a mostly gay and lesbian restaurant by myself. I got to watch all of the out-of-towners come in in 2s and 3s and 4s. Two gorgeous thin career lesbians. Two elderly heavy and not particularly pretty dkyes. Two very homely men who [thank god] have found each other, and two pretty boys, maybe 19, who look alike and are all over each other. And over at that table is a man in his 70s looking queenly, and his much younger lover of 58 slowly down their bottle of chardonnay. They don’t smile. Walking by on Santa Monica Boulevard are lots more of all shapes and sizes, coming to WeHo for Gay Pride Day.
John Hall wrote the lyrics to this next song showing the difference between a viewpoint from an old queen and one from a young disinterested queer, both watching the parade go by. Rick Garretson and Santo Regni sing the older and younger gay men in this song. Little did any of us know that a few months later, I would enter into an intergenerational relationship myself. [Coming on 13 years now by the way...]
The Parade was written by John Hall and me and is from the electro-acoustic cantata, FLASHPOINT/STONEWALL (1994), for 4 synthesizers, bass (me), drums, soloists, and men’s chorus, a commission celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The consortium of commissioning choruses were the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the Seattle Men’s Chorus, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. Each of the choruses performed the work in their own cities. I went to all of them except Seattle as I had to be in Chicago that night for a premiere my LETTERS TO THE FUTURE.
Notes by Roger Bourland
[Picture © James Patrick Kelly; RB at Carnegie Hall premiere of Flashpoint/Stonewall, June 1994.]
Amid the roses Mary sits and rocks her Jesus child,
While amid the tree tops sighs the breeze so warm and mild…
It almost seems standard to include a Christmas lullaby on most holiday concerts. And rather than turn to the typical tried and true repertoire, why not consider something different this year? Published originally as a vocal solo in 1912, Max Reger’s evocative lullaby The Virgin’s Slumber Song, Op. 76, No. 52, has been arranged for soprano or tenor solo, men’s chorus, harp and strings by Larry Moore. A piano-vocal score is also available. Choruses have the option of singing either the original German text by Martin Boelitz, or the English translation by Edward Teschemacher.
This song is a tender allegretto piece, full of the beautifully voiced harmonies for which Larry Moore is so well-known. He’s taken Reger’s wonderful solo lullaby and reinvented it in a masterful way!
Browse through the first six pages of the full score, and the piano-vocal score (as PDFs).
The Virgin’s Slumber Song (solo, men’s chorus, harp and strings)
We’d like to officially welcome John Shea into the YRM “home” of composers!
John’s day job is as an associate professor of economics at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has a great passion for music as well, and has an active life as a composer and musician. He sings in his local UU choir and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network. He has studied composition with Tom Benjamin, whom he considers a mentor in the world of choral music.
John writes appealing, tonal choral music featuring strong melodies and a variety of styles, including Latin jazz, gospel and pop. YRM is proud to publish two of John’s choral compositions:
A Mother’s Carol, for SATB chorus, bass (optional) and piano, is a jazz waltz setting of a text written by his wife, April Lee. The lyrics express a mother’s concerns and hopes for her newborn child. Click here to view the first six pages of the score.
When There is Light in the Soul, for solo voice, SATB chorus and piano, is a gospel-style waltz setting of a well-known Chinese proverb. Click here to view the first six pages of the score.
June through July seems to be the season when most choruses begin planning their winter/holiday concerts. So, to help acquaint you with what YRM offers for your concert programming needs, we’ll frequently be posting over the next couple of months about new pieces and catalog favorites that feature themes of winter time and of the holidays… Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice.
First up is a new piece by Diane Benjamin titled Snow Might Fly, composed for SAA, oboe and piano. This music is a joyous and exuberant setting of Becky Karush’s lyrics about a moment captured on a wintry day. Nostalgia, family, nature… a simpler life.
Snow Might Fly (view the first four pages of the score by clicking on the link)
It’s been nearly 9 years since the murder of Matthew Shepard in October of 1998, and his death still remains a significant reminder of the horrible outcome that hate, ignorance and fear can generate. Singer/songwriter Randi Driscoll composed what matters as a tribute to Matthew. It was featured in the NBC motion picture The Matthew Shepard Story.
When I first heard the tragic story of Matthew Shepard’s death, I was saddened and outraged. I wanted to kick in my television set, scream and cry. Instead, I went to my piano to find solace in my music. What transpired was the song what matters. The song honors Matthew’s life, his family and the unconditional love they represent… I have spent years touring to promote the single and raise awareness by performing the song at clubs, benefit concerts, vigils and Pride Festivals. This work and this song are the most important things I have ever done in my life. I am continuously inspired by the angels around us that do so much to see that this type of hatred and ignorance is stopped.
Composer Kevin Robison was contacted by Driscoll to arrange the song for chorus and piano, and Yelton Rhodes Music is honored to publish these choral arrangements. Proceeds from the sale of this piece are donated to The Matthew Shephard Foundation to support their crucial work. what matters is available in three voicings: men’s chorus, mixed chorus and women’s chorus. Click on the links to view the first four pages as a PDF.
what matters (for men’s chorus)