We wrapped up our eighth successful year with the Rockford Aces last week, culminating in a 2-hour concert that was widely considered our best yet. I’m sharing here our rep list from the year. The Aces endeavor to sing in as many musical styles as possible each year, with no discrimination except quality of music. In that spirit, the entire list is organized alphabetically, as in our folders (except music for Christmas, which goes at the end…)
I’ve provided links to audio/video and the publisher information wherever available.
August (Francis Ledwidge, Michael McGlynn) [Video]
Advanced. We programmed this before we knew we’d premiering its sister piece, May! This is a lovely setting of a beautiful poem, with rich harmony that sits really well for men’s voices. It’s challenging harmonically and textually, but it’s always a favorite among the singers.
Advanced. Originally written for The Real Group, it’s a funky, fun 6-part that Edenroth adapted for the men’s choir Orphei Drangar. Several singers’ favorite piece this year.
Intermediate. We commissioned and premiered this fun arrangement in 2013, and performed it at the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia. It’s fun to sing and sits so well in men’s voices.
Intermediate. You’ll listen and think it’s advanced, but it’s not, really. The challenges are learning Gaelic and the odd meter, but it is three-part writing throughout and really very few measures of music to learn. We performed this with our non-auditioned RAMChoir after only 5 rehearsals over 7 weeks.
Everything – MANUSCRIPT (Michael Bublé et al., Arr. Jed Scott) [Video
Intermediate. A smooth pop tune from Bublé, given the a cappella treatment. It appeared on our first album, Unaccompanied Minors.
I Will – MANUSCRIPT (Lennon/McCartney, Arr. Jed Scott) [Video
Intermediate. Classic Beatles gets fun a cappella treatment with fun four-part writing and a mixture of solo and tutti sections.
Primary/Intermediate. An a cappella standard.
Intermediate. The Aces sing this faithful transcription every year.
May – MANUSCRIPT (Francis Ledwidge, Michael McGlynn) [Video
Advanced. The Aces commissioned and premiered this piece this year. It’s the sister to August (above) and gave us our most sustained challenge. I think it was ultimately worth it, though – a powerful text and a setting to match.
Old Time Rock & Roll – MANUSCRIPT (Bob Seger, Arr. Jed Scott)
Primary. We added this at almost the last minute, as a special surprise at our concert. It included, naturally, the Aces singing in dancing in boxers and tux shirts. The audience loved it.
Stand By Me – MANUSCRIPT (Ben E. King, Arr. Jed Scott)
Intermediate. We always close our concerts with this Ben E. King standard, with our alums joining us onstage.
Intermediate. With The Force Awakens coming out last December, I couldn’t resist programming this fun tribute to John Williams. It contains about a half-dozen iconic John Williams film melodies, set with words from the original Star Wars. It’s fun, hilarious, and gives young men the chance to wield light sabers onstage. What’s not to like? (the manuscript is a bit of an amateur notation, so proceed with caution).
Theme Song – MANUSCRIPT (Myers/Rothkopf, Arr. Jed Scott) [Video
Advanced. A call back from 2012, it’s an uplifting and musically challenging call to arms about the value of music in our lives.
21 Guns – MANUSCRIPT (Green Day, Arr. Jed Scott) [Video
Advanced. Another call back from our 2012 performance at the World Choir Games, this is a great anthemic closer to a set. It briefly features guitar in two places, but is otherwise a cappella with beatboxing.
The Boars Head Carol (Traditional, Arr. Parker-Shaw)
Intermediate. A classic carol and arrangement. We used it as a processional, adding a repeat for the students to complete their move.
Christmas Medley – MANUSCRIPT (Various, Arr. Richard Gregory – Manuscript) [Video
Advanced. An arrangement I wish I had written.
Silver Bells – MANUSCRIPT (Livingston/Evans, Arr. Jed Scott [Video]
Intermediate. I’m particularly proud of this arrangement, which is a bit of a tour-de-force for the singers. Fun to sing with interesting challenges.