To say high school choir is memorable is quite the understatement. There is nothing like learning and mastering a new tune with your fellow musician friends. But with so many choral arrangements out there, (and so many high schoolers opinions) it can be tough to decide which piece is the next piece your choir should tackle. We’ve composed a list of 10 Unforgettable Pieces Every High School Choir Should Learn to give you a few ideas!
1. “The Seal Lullaby” by Eric Whitacre
It’s not news that Eric Whitacre has been somewhat of a choral celebrity amongst high schoolers in the past few years. His unconventional compositional style, clashing harmonies, and beautiful melodies have captured the hearts of musicians everywhere. However, many of his pieces can tend to be quite involved and may provide challenges for high school students. “The Seal Lullaby” is a stunningly beautiful piece that can be mastered by choirs both big and small, advanced and intermediate. While this piece is one that students love, it also provides an excellent opportunity for ear training and blending technique.
2. “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen
Another advocate for intricate and clashing vocal harmonies, Morten Lauridsen has become a favorite for many high school choirs. “O Magnum Mysterium,” one of Lauridsen’s sacred a cappella motets, is a beautiful piece that choirs fall in love with time and time again.
Be sure to also check out Lauridsen’s massively popular “Sure on This Shining Night.”
3. Lacrymosa from Mozart’s Requiem
Mozart’s Requiem is one of the most significant classical works ever written, primarily because Mozart wrote it himself! Though the entire Requiem is just short of an hour, “Lacrymosa” is a short 3-minute piece wedged into the middle that has become one of the most recognizable moments in the Requiem. High school students generally appreciate this legendary piece because of it’s emotional and mature sound.
4. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
There are many different choral arrangements of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen out there, from a capella to full accompaniment, from Pentatonix to Glee. Whichever arrangement you decide to choose for your choir, it’s unique harmonies, and complex song form are always fun for a high school choir to conquer! It also provides several excellent opportunities for soloists to shine.
5. Selections from The Lion King
Both The Lion King (1994) and The Lion King: The Broadway Musical have some pretty amazing choral numbers. Songs like “The Circle of Life,” “He Lives In You,” “Shadowland,” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” are fun and upbeat for students, and many even include African lyrics. Several of these songs also include some great solo moments (both male and female) as well as moments for choreography or self-made percussion!
6. “Baba Yetu” from Civilization IV
“Baba Yetu” (Swahili: “Our Father”) is the theme song for the 2005 video game, Civilization IV. The song ended up being the first video game theme nominated for a Grammy Award, as well as the first winner! It’s upbeat and Swahili song style have made it a choral favorite for years, as well as a perfect song for tenor and alto soloists.
7. “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman
From the movie musical that millions have fallen in love with “This Is Me” is an absolute anthem. With a few opportunities for female soloists, the rest of the song features powerhouse vocals from the choir and is sure to leave any audience inspired. And don’t forget to check out even more amazing choral arrangements from The Greatest Showman, exclusively available on Musicnotes.com!
8. “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen
From the Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen, “You Will Be Found” is an emotional and powerful piece perfect for any choir. The choral arrangement of this piece features a few solos for both male and female singers and then turns it’s attention to the choir. The result is a perfect balance of tenderness and passion, sure to leave the audience in tears.
You can get the exact Broadway sheet music (and a more solo-driven arrangement) from “You Will Be Found” here.
9. “There Is Faint Music” by Dan Forrest
“There Is Faint Music” is one of Dan Forrest’s most widely-performed Christmas pieces, setting a tableau of the nativity, demonstrating both the feeling and the meaning of the Christmas season. This piece is absolutely beautiful, with simple yet purposeful harmonies, and a tenderness that only music can evoke.
10. “We Are The World” by USA for Africa
“We Are the World” is a song and charity single originally recorded by the supergroup United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa in 1985. It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones for the album We Are the World. The song features many powerhouse vocalists from the 1980s (see the full list here) and includes many opportunities for solos (both male and female) as well as some unforgettable choral moments.
Whether you’re a choir director, a student, or just a lover of music, we hope these songs have inspired you to sing! And don’t forget to shop ALL of our awesome choral pieces and arrangements on Musicnotes.com.