April 23, 2020 admin

Molly Gonring – NCDA Women’s Choir R&R

I am a humble fanatic of the awesome sounds you can make with treble music. Manipulating the sounds and stretching the potential of my students singing treble music is one of my favorite parts of my job.

The cancellation of District Music Contest this year, among many other things, truly broke my heart. I send all music teachers out their virtual wishes of health and happiness. To combat my sadness, I would like to chat about two DMC treble music sets and why I chose them.


Set 1

Deus Noster Refugium – Knecht (SSAA) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYMJp4lhRNg

Weep No More – Childs (SSAA) – https://www.jwpepper.com/Weep-No-More/3178274.item#/

Lineage – Ramsey (SSA) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOVz09u3tTI


Set 2

Dies Irae – Stroope (SSA) – https://www.jwpepper.com/Dies-Irae/8071141.item#/

I Will Be Earth – Walker (SSA) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9RWLcMCAW0

Ain’-a That Good News! – arr. Dawson (SSAA) – https://www.jwpepper.com/Ain%27-a-That-Good-News/564039.item#/submit

^ There are mostly SATB recordings out there, and I will gladly send you my recording if you would like to hear it.


(This part of my post is subtitled, “Understanding my Treble Singers through repertoire, a Memoire”)

My treble singers love singing aggressive tunes. That being said, it was impossible to not program Deus Noster Refugium and Dies Irae. Both years, my low singers loved to belt. I also needed to give my sopranos a safe outlet to expand their range and really feel comfortable opening up in their high range. I really did not give them an option to “sing scared” with these two tunes.

(Both of these tunes I would only give to advanced singers.)

I love teaching “ballads” that aren’t about butterflies and blatant love lost. I do not like living in that world with my singers.Weep No More and I Will be Earth both have mature texts that I could relate to my high school singers’ lives with satisfying melodic lines. The phrasing and textual emphasis you can teach with these two tunes is, for lack of a better word, yummy.

(Both of these tunes were learned by advanced singers, however, could be taught to intermediate high school singers)

Lineage served many purposes for my singers. My alto section was a FORCE this specific year. (See score, you’ll “get it.”) Another cool moment we had with this piece was inviting our two female band directors to play the percussion parts. It was a powerful experience to say the least.

(This tune was taught to advanced singers, however, could have been taught to intermediate high school singers.)

Ain’-a That Good News! was an intentional challenge for my singers. This tune is a cappella with many challenging stylistic elements. We worked diction and dynamics tirelessly and they left choir class with their brains on fire many days. (*insert evil laugh*) It was not perfect at DMC, but they felt proud to share their work on this incredible tune. It was a gorgeous journey that made them better musicians. Isn’t that the point?

(I would only give this tune to advanced singers.)

Feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat treble music!

Molly Gonring


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Nebraska Choral Directors Association (NCDA)