It’s Not Too Early to Think about Advent!

Advent wreath candles

Before you know it, Advent will be upon us. Here are some suggestions for unison, two- and three-part anthems for your choir.

  • Advent Processional–Richard Proulx (GIA, G-2541)
    • This unison piece, using the text “Creator of the stars of night” and tune Conditor alme siderum, incorporates four bells (or chimes), finger cymbals, and drum. It would make a wonderful start to the Advent season.
  • Maria Walks Amid the Thorn–David Cherwien (Choristers Guild, CGA597)
    • An excellent choice for Advent IV, this unison anthem is easily done by children and adults alike. If four parts are available, the last two measures of text can be expanded to SATB.
  • Prepare to Receive Him–Bach/Currie (GIA, G3348)
    • This is an arrangement of an alto aria from the Christmas Oratorio and can be done with strings and/or winds.
  • Sing and Rejoice–Sam Batt Owens (GIA, G5529)
    • From the “Not for Children Only” series, this anthem uses seven bells/chimes and is for unison voices.
  •  There’s a Voice in the Wilderness–Craig Phillips (Selah, 422-903)
    • For unison or two-part chorus this piece uses the familiar tune found in The Hymnal 1982. A flute could be added to good effect. A wonderful choice for Advent II or III.
  • Who at My Door is Standing–K. Lee Scott (Hinshaw, HMC728)
    • For two-part chorus, this lovely piece is an arrangement of the English folk song Sally Gardens.
  • Zechariah’s Song–David Ashley White (Choristers Guild, CGA590)
    • A fun two-part piece to sing for Advent II or III.
  • And the Father will Dance–Mark Hayes (Hinshaw, HMC1349)
    • This rollicking anthem is beloved by many choirs and is arranged for SAB. It is also available in four parts.
  • Comfort, Comfort Now My People–Richard Proulx (Aureole, AE110)
    • Even though listed as an SAB piece it is really for two parts. Using finger cymbals and a tambourine it is dance-like and very rhythmic. A good choice for Advent III.
  • People, Look East–Tom Mitchell (Choristers Guild, CGA505)
    • This popular Advent carol arranged for SAB uses finger cymbals and parts are also available for flute or oboe.
  • Wake Awake–John Horman (Hinshaw, HMC223)
    • For three-part mixed voices, this piece incorporates Wachet auf along with a dance-like counter melody
  • An Advent Litany–Peter Hallock (Ionian Arts, CH-1041C).
    • This piece is for cantor, choir, congregation, organ and optional handbells. The music is by Peter Hallock with a text by the Rev. Carl G. Carlozzi. While scored for multiple parts, it can be easily done by the forces at hand and is a very effective way to begin your Advent season. 

Next time look for anthem suggestions from St. James Music Press!

Ellen Johnston is Director of the Center for Liturgy and Music.

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