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Unbalanced Men/Women

I teach in a rural small school.  I have 2 small choirs (accurate statement) and very few men in choir (understatement). In SH choir (9-12th) I have 6 young ladies and one tenor. He's very willing, teachable, and has a nice voice. He's not particularly loud. In 7-8th grade JH choir, I have 10 really young ladies with great potential (they outsing the SH ladies every day!) and 1 young man of baritone range, has potential, still getting to know his voice and temperament, seems willing enough.  I do usually combine these choirs, so at our concerts there should be 2 young men.  

Questions:  Is there any good way to do 2 part literature with split ladies and the guy(s)?  If not, how can I use and plug in these guys in a way that helps all and is musically beautiful?  Where can I find some appropriately voiced literature (of any style, particularly not something dumb) that I can fit these young men into? 

I would like to do regional choral events, but doing SAB music with one man in each group scares me.  Should I have the ladies perform 2 part music without the men for these few events only?  Seems hard on the guys to leave them out even for a few events.


on October 29, 2015 5:25am
It is very possible to do 2-part music with this group.  What I used to do was put the younger/changing boys on the Soprano (or Part I) part (in their own range) and the more experienced boys on the Alto (or Part II).  I would (and have) performed this way for regional events and adjucations with great success. This will provide a positive experience and help with recruiting other guys.  As they gain more experience and confidence you can then think about branching out to more parts.    
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on October 29, 2015 6:39am
One simple idea is to do 2 part pieces with the tenor singing the soprano part and the baritone singing the alto part,  In their own range of course.  Try Carl Fischer Music (BriLee Music) for some lovely music.  Many pieces are available with free practice tracks.
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on October 30, 2015 7:52am
Sounds like you're dealing with a problem spanning many years. Do what you can this year, and start to break the cycle for next year.
Your best recruiting is done without being actual recruiting. I was at a school once where the JH choir director visited and ran my rehearsals twice each semester. His 7th grade boys choir had an enrollment of 90+ every year. You can't beat the personal touch. Here are some ideas for you to try.
  • Make yourself known at the elementary school, especially with the upper two grades.
  • Make friends with the elementary music teacher. Find out what teaching elementary is really like.
  • If they have a choir, go help with a rehearsal every month or so. Show up to their performances. Do some fun warm-ups or singing activities with them.
  • The boys in elementary need to see that it's cool for boys to sing. For now, you're the male representing singing. Be enthusiastic.
  • After you've got a few more guys, bring them to the elementary school once a year so they can tell the students what they like about choir.
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