All Through the Night

This arrangement is from a CD of lullabys my wife Karen recorded in 2001. For this one she had her trio partners Lynne and Brenda join her. I improvised the accompaniment in the studio in one pass and did the arrangement with the girls on the fly. This is actually the SAB version (both Karen and Brenda can sing very low). I dubbed in my own voice on the lowest part. The SAA version is for women with regular ranges…

Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms SAB

A lovely traditional Irish song, the story goes that Thomas Moore wrote these words for his distraught wife who had shut herself in her room after her beautiful complexion was ruined by smallpox. I wrote this arrangement for my dear Irish Singers of Ottawa whom I directed for three years in the late 90’s. I’ve been wanting to do an SATB version, so whoever requests it first gets it for half price!

The Dalesman's Litany SATB

I first heard this poignant song in a 1993 folk recording by Tim Hart and Maddy Prior. I later learned that it was composed by Dr. Frederick Mooreman, a Yorkshire cultural enthusiast in the early 1900’s and Dave Keddie, who wrote a tune for it around 1960 (the tune here has been altered somewhat). Originally written for my Irish Singers as an SAB arrangement, I have expanded it to the standard SATB, although the tenor part could stand alone as a Baritone part if needed.

The Dying Californian SAA

This beautiful folk song was first published in 1854 in the New England Diadem.  I altered the melody somewhat and arranged it for my wife’s trio. Their wonderful recording is presented here.

The Famine Song SATB

The Famine Song is an Irish folk song from the 1850’s commemorating the Great Potato Famine in which an estimted one million people died and the same number left Ireland.

Five Chinese Folk Songs SATB

These lovely choral settings were comissioned by the Vancouver Cantata Singers in 1989. I have recently recopied the entire set after identifying each Chinese character and finding it’s pinyin spelling, pronunciation and translation (a task that occupied several months). The purchased music includes my text-based chart with all the characters and recordings of the spoken lyrics for pronunciation reference (a resource that would have been a great help when we performed these pieces 30 years ago!)

The House of the Rising Sun SSAA

This arrangement was created for a local women’s choir. It’s bluesy counterpoint and complex harmonies make it a delightfully effective piece to perform.

Irish Blessing

Originally arranged for SAB, during my time as conductor the Irish Singers of Ottawa sang this at the close of every rehearsal, and often in concert as well. It holds tender memories for me.

Old Maid In the Garret SSA

A humorous folk song that will tickle any audience.

Skye Boat Song SSAA

Inspired by the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape after the Battle of Culloden, this famous tune lends itself to lovely pentatonic harmonies and canonic treatments. 

St. Patrick Was A Gentleman SATB

Arranged for my Irish Singers of Ottawa, this lively tune with comical lyrics is an audience favourite! (This piece can be performed as SAB by leaving out the bass part at the end – this was actually the original version).

Star Spangled Banner SSA

My wife and her friends were asked to sing the national anthem at a Triple-A league baseball game, so I wrote this arrangement for them. Lots of cheering.

The Wee Weaver SATB

This ethereal Irish folk song features an ever fluid meter. For simplicity’s sake I have not included the time signatures, but bars of 3/4 (and sometimes 4/4 and 5/4) often alternate with bars of 7/8 (which is really a lop-sided 3). This gives the song a floating, dreamy quality, and should sound very relaxed.  I have included a slightly simpler version where the second and third verses repeat the same music.

Wild Mountain Thyme SSAA

This beautiful Scottish folk song is always a favourite. It seemed to me that gathering thyme in the heather is a metaphor for reuniting in the next life, so I added a verse that makes this “dead lover” theme more explicit.

La Ziguezon SSAA

A wonderful rendition of this lusty Quebecois folk song, sung by the roots group La Bottine Souriante, can be heard here. When my wife’s choral group requested an arrangement, I decided the quick french patter was too tricky for them, and composed an english translation, retaining just the first part of the refrain. If you’re more courageous, the french words are readily available online. Stamping and spoons are a recommended addition!

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