But as we began singing, I grew concerned about these new songs and arrangements. I knew the ranges and limitations of my current and former choir members. These new pieces demanded some very strange requirements of the singers. The Altos would be very happy because they regularly got to sing low G's and F's below Middle C and rarely jumped up towards Treble C. However, the Basses often had to jump from singing down on the lowest notes of the Bass staff to suddenly sing up on Middle D or E with no preparation, even. (You try jumping the interval of a 13th and nail it every time!) The Tenors jumped all over the place to sing as low as the basses and high as the Altos. Then I was blown away when the Sopranos were to sing with the Altos below Middle C on low F's and G's and in the next verse sing up in the stratosphere above the Treble staff. (Sopranos don't like singing below Middle C, ever, but then in the next song jump up to High C above the Treble staff? Crazy!) Hadn't these composers taken any classes in part writing for choral singers?
Suffice it to say that I would never consider any of these pieces for my choir. My Basses complain at having to sing anywhere near the top of the Bass staff. My Tenors don't like to sing low notes. Neither do my Sopranos. Okay, my Altos would have been delighted to actually see written low F's in their music, but they are happy to sing any notes between low G and Treble C. Guess I will continue to look around for good Christmas songs for my group. In the meantime, I have some great tried and true songs we can learn. "Hear the Angels Singing" SATB by Lloyd Larson is upbeat and fun. So is "Good Christians All Rejoice" 2-Part by Beryl Red. These pieces maintain decent ranges for all of the voice parts. And I just love the piano accompaniments for both pieces. They come highly recommended!