This is a long list. No one says you need to listen to any of them.
What makes us like certain types of sounds? How much of our love of typical choir music or another style of music is due to our personality as opposed to our culture? Why can some people hear the nuances between different rock groups while, to others, all rock groups sound the same? The same goes for choir music. Those who sing choir music appreciate the differences between Ola Gjeilo and Morten Lauridsen while, to others, they sound alike. What is it that makes people like the music they do?
I am unable to remember tunes or lyrics. It doesn’t matter how many times they are repeated; they do not stay in my mind. This is true of phrases as well. For example, we repeated the Pledge of Allegiance every school day for many years. I could not remember it from one day to the next. Some people can hear a tune once and remember it. I can hear a tune 1,000 times, and I can’t remember what the next note will be. I cannot sing the national anthem because I cannot remember the lyrics, let alone the tune. I can remember some of the words, but not in the right order. I can sing along to a song; but turn off the music or the lyrics, and I instantly lose my way. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying music.
I usually listen to many hours of music a day. I choose to do that instead of television. It is a less stressful life that way.
This is a very abbreviated collection of songs that I like. Perhaps you will find some new artists that you like. My music choices diverge from traditional choral music, so you may find my tastes a bit different than yours. I am adding some descriptions to give you an idea of what might happen, if you click on the link. I use Spotify for most of my listening. But, the links here are for YouTube, since it is available to everyone.
Shenandoah by The Choir of King’s College
A mixed-aged, male choir group from Cambridge, England. They have been performing for 500 plus years. Shenandoah seems to be one of the most popular choral pieces, as it is sung by many different groups. The origin of the song is of myth; but this page tells of the song and the chief – Pine Tree Chief John Skenandoa of the Oneida. The earliest recorded version of the song is from 1925 by John Goss, and it is described as a sea shanty. The choral version was arranged by James Erb who grew up in Colorado and taught junior high in Wyoming. Erb arranged the choral version in 1971 for his University of Richmond choir he took on a European tour.
Song of the Dragonborn by Euga Male Voice Choir
If you want to know what type of choral music young men typically like, this song will give you a good idea. It is one of the most popular with that age group. This is a Finnish group singing a song composed by Jeremy Soule. Euga sings a variety of music from classical choral pieces to songs they commission. Even if you don’t like this piece, you will probably like some of their more traditional ones. Many game companies are hiring orchestras and famous vocalists to perform background music for computer games. It has become big business. I have never played this game, but I like the song. Another version of the song, featuring a female soloist with a male voice choir: Orphei Drängar and Myrra Malmberg. Orphei Drängar is a Swedish group that started in 1853 out of boredom while their community was in quarantine due to cholera. Myrra Malmberg is a Swede who has had a very successful career with an impressive list of credits. I think I like the version with Malmberg the best.
Kristallen den fina by Orphei Drängar
Kristallen den fina means “The Fine Crystal.” It is a traditional Swedish piece. Orphei Drängar means “Orpheus Farmhand,” which is a strange name for the choir.
Sogno di Volare composed by Christopher Tin and sung by Peter Hollens
Peter Hollens hails from Oregon and has partnered with dozens of different musicians, helping many gain an audience. He is also one of the first to clone himself and sing multiple parts. Christopher Tin is one of the more popular composers. He got his start because his former roommate was needing background music for a video game he was creating. Tin composed “Baba Yetu,” which is very popular across multiple audiences and performers. “Sogno di Volare” is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s writings on flight.
Kayama by Adiemus and written by Karl Jenkins Sung by Miriam Stockley and Mary Carewe
Karl Jenkins is a Welsh composer. For this song, he creates vocal tones as an instrument. The voices are overdubbed dozens of times.
Also performed by a woman’s choir, Cantores Celestes, doing a good job.
Prayer of the Children, written and sung by Kurt Bestor, accompanied by Sam Cardon, Keni Yarbro, and Paul Engermann.
Kurt composed this song to address the war in Yugoslavia. Many people have sung this, but I like the one he sings in the best.
Who Wants to Live Forever by The Tenors ft Lindsey Stirling; Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters, Clifton Murray, and Remigo Pereira.
“The Canadian Tenors” became “The Tenors.” There used to be four of them until Pereira got kicked out of the group for changing the lyrics of the Canadian national anthem at one of their performances. This song and performance is from when all four performed together. Lindsey Stirling plays the violin and is one of the very first people to create a career for herself with her YouTube videos. She combines dance with violin and creates stories to go with her performances. This looks like one of her creations.
Sailor’s Prayer – Pandora Celtica
We were able to see a few live performances of Pandora Celtica. It is four-part harmony by a Colorado-based, a cappella group. They write most of their own music. They also love to dress up. They describe themselves as a dark fairy group where none of their songs have a happy ending.
Sanctus by Libera
An interdenominational, all-boy, English vocal group. The members are always changing, but I really like this version of Sanctus.
Pachelbel Canon Medley by The London Firebird Orchestra with Crouch End Festival Chorus
This is proof that I know nothing about proper music. Or maybe I do. Listen to the Medley first.
Dulaman – the Choral Scholars of University College Dublin
An Irish university chamber choir.
Flowers on the Wall – Statler Brothers vs Home Free
This is a father-son team that compares old versions of songs to new versions. You can skip the banter and watch/listen to the songs only.
Statler Brothers or Home Free doing their quarantine version of the song. I like the wallpaper. I like both groups. Home Free has a lot of songs I like. Given the staying at home most of us are doing, Flowers on the Wall seems apropos.
In Hell I’ll be in Good Company by The Dead South
A Canadian folk-bluegrass ensemble. I may be the only person in this audience who likes this, but they do have 200 million plays on YouTube; so there must be a few others who like them. If you are looking for something different, give this a listen. Consider it a cultural broadening experience.
Gabriel’s Oboe – Maja Logowska
This may be one of my very favorite songs. It has words by Hayley Westenra to it, but I prefer it without. It was composed by Ennio Morricone for the movie, “The Mission,” a gorgeous movie.
Bluebird by Alexis Ffrench
My preferred artist when I need to work without interruption. No vocals. Piano with some orchestra. Ffrench composes most of his own music.
Peponi – Alex Boye with the Piano Guys
This is an Africanized version of the song “Paradise,” written by the rock group Coldplay. Alex Boye is a British singer who grew up in foster homes. I like most everything the Piano Guys do.
Misty Mountain – Peter Hollens
Misty Mountain – Peter Hollens and Tim Foust
Peter likes to clone himself and, then, record multiple tracks to create harmonies with himself. Tim Foust now sings with Home Free and has one of the best bass voices. “Misty Mountains” was composed by Howard Shore who composed over nine hours of music with over 65 themes for the “Lord of the Rings” movie series. I think I like the version with Foust the best, but I include the other so you can see the way one person can make a choir.
Look at the World – John Rutter
Of the classical choral composers, I like John Rutter.
Perhaps Love – John Denver & Placido Domingo
Composed by John Denver and loved by Placido Domingo. I think the two of them sound great together. Placido has adopted the song as one of his favorites and performs it with multiple different artists, including one version with his own son.
I Will Find You – Clannad
Another Irish group. I like Irish music. This song was composed for the “Last of the Mohicans” movie. I love the Clannad harmonies. The Brennan and related Duggan family is Clannad. Clannad means ‘Family from Dore.’ They are the most popular musicians in Ireland. The family also includes the famous Enya who has a solo career. Apparently, it is genetic.
Shape of You – Cover of Ed Sheeran song by Ndlovu Youth Choir
A South African youth choir. They are singing an Ed Sheeran song. Sheeran is the most popular singer in America. He has multiple songs with more than a billion plays each on Spotify and multiple billions each on YouTube. Wouter Kellerman is an extraordinary flutist.
Human – Rag’n’Bone Man
A solo artist, but I like him well enough to include him in this list of great artists. His real name is Rory Graham and hails from England.
It Knows Me – Avi Kaplan
Former member of Pentatonix. He composes his own music. Another solo artist, but too good not to include. He now lives in a rural cabin in the forests of Tennessee.
Alegria by Francesca Gagnon
Composed by Rene Dupere for Cirque du Soleil. The song is in Italian. Gagnon is Canadian. She is cast as the Singer in White. The one song has given her a 20-year career.
Caledonia – Celtic Thunder Legacy
Celtic Thunder is a male ensemble supported by a band that tours with them. The singers vary from season to season, but they consistently find great voices.
Song of Durin – Clamavi De Profundis
A family that takes J.R.R. Tolkien poems and sets them to music. They also do religious chants. The only group where I can find no images of the performers nor their real names. The name means, “I called from the depth.” It is an allusion to Psalms 130, which is sometimes referred to as the Prayer for the Dead Psalm. The name is also used by a death metal group, which I can’t listen to. There are also several people who use the name for themselves. But, I find virtually nothing about the group that performs the song I share here. I am now becoming fixated on finding out more about them. Or, maybe you prefer their rendition of We Three Kings.
The singing revolution of Estonia — how singing restored a country. The history and power of singing sang a nation free. About 10% of the nation gathers in one place every five years to have a singing festival. Virtually the entire nation has attended at least one of the festivals. Plus, there are numerous music festivals each year. The links below give a bit of the story and give an idea of how big singing is to the nation.