Saturday, November 01, 2014

John Helgen's Choral Library

My choral arrangements and compositions are published in the Music For the Church Year series of the Neil A. Kjos Music Company, as well as with Augsburg Fortress, Concordia Publishing House, and MorningStar Music.

As a working church musician, my goal is to create anthems that can be sung by church choirs of average size, with a range of abilities and ages. I hope that you will find the following information helpful in locating anthems for use with your choir and congregation.

"Quietly into the stable where the Savior sleeping lies, we can go, for all are welcome: shepherd, angel, poor and wise. What we have we bring and offer, earthly gifts for child divine, giving that which we were given, fruits of harvest, bread and wine." This lovely song by my friend and colleague Jay Beech is a fine offering for the Christmas season.

I wrote an arrangement of this beautiful Irish folk tune for solo voice, flute and piano for a college friend's vocal recital in 1979, and it eventually evolved into an SATB choral setting. I used it in manuscript form with various church choirs for a number of years, and it became the first anthem I had published in Bradley Ellingboe's Music for the Church Year series from Kjos Music. The text is by Jan Struther, and is well-known to Lutherans as the hymn Lord of All Hopefulness, #369 in the Lutheran Book of Worship.

This setting for children's choir uses the well-loved melody Schönster Herr Jesu and includes an optional second part.

This anthem for Good Friday combines verse material from the hymn Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed by Isaac Watts with the responsive refrain: Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. The choral singing is a supported by a quiet organ part with a repeated bass line.

This arrangement of one of John Ylvisaker's best-loved pieces originated as a five part vocal arrangement which was recorded on The Jay Beech Band Vocal Project CD, released in 1994 by Augsburg Fortress. I later adapted it for choral use and it has been used by numerous denominations throughout the country. Particularly suited and widely used for baptismal days, it can also be used as a general anthem.

Written for the installation of my friend and colleague Norma Aamodt-Nelson as Minister of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood, Washington, Breath of God can make use of all of your choral resources - senior choir, vocal ensemble, children's choir, and congregation. Features a new text by one of Trinity's pastors, Paul Sundberg. For mission emphasis, Pentecost, or general use.

I first heard Brighter Than the Sun, written by Ray Makeever of Minneapolis, while staying at Holden Village in the summer of 1999, where Ray was serving as village musician along with his wife, Linda Breitag. The song was sung at an evening gathering, and the tune stayed with me for weeks afterward. Upon my return to Minneapolis I made this arrangement which was published in the fall of 1999. It has kind of a "down home Southern gospel" feel to it, and can be used for Epiphany season, baptisms, or as a general anthem. Accessible to traditional choirs as well as contemporary ensembles.

An energetic setting of Psalm 47, this anthem is driven by a gospel piano accompaniment. Suitable as a call to worship, gradual, or as a general choral anthem. "Clap your hands, you people, and praise the Lord! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!"

A piece for Advent, with the refrain "Oh, Come, Lord, come, here on earth your will be done" which incorporates verse text by Charles Wesley from the hymn Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus. Can be used in general for Advent season, or as a call to worship. Use the optional percussion for a little extra flavor.

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