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Choral directors in our association have been field-testing literature for many years. We share information about the highest quality repertoire, because there is so much variety in styles, voicings, textures, singability, texts and appeal. This is not a list of sight reading music, this is a list of the best performance repertoire available for directors who seek a specific sequence of appropriate challenges which enhance skill development.

Enter the "Sure-Fire Winners" list.  

We have organized annotated descriptions in every voicing in a format which reveals much more than title, composer and publisher.  We list the key(s), meter(s), chromatics, challenging intervals and challenging rhythmic figures.  Mode shifts, tricky rhythmic passages, unusual textures and divisi sections are also noted.  Members comment on why a piece sings so well and what qualities make the piece appealing to singers and audiences.

DEFINITION:  Sure-Fire Winner - a species known to choral directors to be reliably singable, teachable, usually solfegeable and always enjoyed by the singers!  Publisher information is included or, if no publisher name appears, a “Pepper number” is provided.


Manx Lullaby, arr. Doloff, Boosey & Hawkes, Pepper #3092160.  D mixolydian with a key signature of one sharp, easy if you call the note D “SO” (G is DO).  Lilting in 3/4 time.  Vocal line is linear, with a simple contrasting B section.  Piano accompaniment is spare, allowing singers to gain confidence, as in an art song.  There is a optional “C instrument” part, beautiful if played on recorder or flute - a true lullaby.  

“Glow”, Eric Whitacre (Text by Edward Esch, Piano Accompaniment Arranged by Lisa Edwards), Hal Leonard Corporation, #HL 00151666.  Accompanied, with optional Strings.  Medium to Medium High Difficulty, mostly homophonic with some staggered entrances to create something of an echo effect, a couple of isolated a cappella phrases, some strong dissonances (typical of Whitacre’s style).  B major, mixed meter (3/4, 4/4, 2/4, 5/4), includes Fi, basses need a low F#.  A piece that evokes winter but is purely secular, it was composed for Disney’s California Adventure Park, for a show entitled Winter Dreams.  Powerful and intense, but leaving behind a feeling of lightness – an excellent winter concert addition.

The Sure-Fire Winners list is available exclusively to GOLD and PLATINUM members of the American Music Literacy Association.