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Choir Performance

Hello NHMEA South Central Festival Singers! 

Congratulations on your selection for participation in the 2023 NHMEA South Central Festival! I am thrilled to be able to join you as your guest conductor. I put together this page for you to easily access all of the preparation resources you might need to get you ready for our time together! 

There is no recording available online of the SAB version (I’m hoping we can change that!) but here is the original song recording by The Highwaymen for reference.


Approach this piece with a pop influenced tone, inflection, and vowels. 

  • All sopranos should prepare the soprano line throughout. S1 interested in singing the optional part that begins at m84, should learn that in addition to learning the soprano line through to the end

  • Focus your practice on the 3 part chorus sections

    • m25 -40 and m58 - m73 (which are the same) 

    • m84 - end

We will use this round to make a unique arrangement of this piece that is special to our performance! Please be ready to try out new things and I’d love to hear ideas of your own! 

  • In measures 12 -15, Sopranos and Baritones should prepare the top melody, Altos should prepare the lower harmony. 

  • Please mark  the following breaths: 

    • measure 4 after the word, “wall” 

    • measure 8 after the first “each other” 

    • measure 12 after the word “stone” 

  • Please note, there is no breath in measures 5, 9 or 13. 

I have adored this piece since I first heard it an hope you will love it too!  I’d love to incorporate the performance suggestion of writing out the things that are daily stressors or that weigh us down and pairing those with the things that lift us up too. 

  • The Soprano I line from measures 5 - 18  and measures 29 - 34 will be a solo. All sopranos should prepare the soprano II line until measure 34

  • S2, ignore small notes in measures 68 - 73. 

  • All S1s sing bottom notes (melody) in measures 105 - 108. 

  • Page 16: 

    • All S2 should sing the top note in measures 108 - 109, the bottom note (A natural) in measures 110 - 111, and the top note in measures 112 - 115. 

    • All Altos should sing the top notes. 

    • All Baritones should sing the top notes. 

Really focus your efforts on nailing the tricky harmony that occurs in measures 37-43 and which repeats again in measures 92 - 98 and finding your starting notes from section to section. 

This song brings us the great opportunity to really be story tellers and explore vocal tone and physical character that will  the character of this wise old man, passing us by. 

The rhythms will be accurate, relaxed and expressive, delivered like speech. 

No other notes, just enjoy learning this ostinato parts that will layer together beautifully and especially enjoy any time you're on the melody! 

Until I Reach-a Mah Home 
African American Spiritual arr. Dilworth

Thulele Mama Ya 
by Lisa Young

This piece is so much fun to perform and the claps that occur between the voice parts are tricky to keep in time. 

You will learn this piece by rote (learning by ear) on the day of the festival. No need to prepare anything in advance for this piece, though listening to the song a few times will not hurt. 

We will be looking for 1-2 soloists to sing in an improvisational style with the same type of strong tone as displayed in this recording. 

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