Women’s Choirs R&R

Glory Reinstein, R&S Chair
December, 2015

One of my favorite contemporary composers is David N. Childs who has written many pieces for SATB and SSAA, most of which are published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. David was born in New Zealand in 1969 and received his Bachelor’s degree in composition and musicology from Canterbury University; his Master of Music degree in conducting from Florida State University; and his Doctorate of Musical Arts from Louisiana State University. He taught at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and has been a frequent conductor for honor choirs. While in Nashville, he founded the 24-member ensemble Vox Humana now based in Dallas where he resides with his wife and daughters.

I have not become acquainted with all of his pieces, but I would like to make mention of two. Bella Voce Women’s Chorus of Vermont performed his SSAA rendition of Lord Byron’s poem She Walks In Beauty last spring. The stunning piece features oboe, although a flute could be substituted for the oboe. It begins with oboe and piano followed by a unison verse. By measure 37 it gives way to a lush 4-way split and eventually modulates ending in a quiet unison. The four and a half-minute piece is very doable for your female ensemble.

The second Childs piece that Bella Voce will delve into this spring, is Weep No More based on a poem by John Keats. This piece has been arranged for SSAA or SATB. I first heard the piece a few years ago at the NAfME Eastern Division conference in Hartford, CT when the girl’s ensemble performed it under the direction of Dr. Janet Galvan (Ithaca College). In true David Childs fashion, the accompanied piece floats between two meters, has beautiful 4-part harmonies with a few unison moments and a few canonic moments, and always very emotive.

Here are a few links to SheetMusicPlus:
She Walks In Beauty – SSAA
Weep No More – SSAA