Choral Directors’ Top 10: Jackie Hawley — Christmas Music for Children’s Choirs

Jackie Hawley

Jackie Hawley is the founding Artistic Director of the Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa. She has conducted and toured internationally with adult, youth and children’s choirs and has been a clinican for choirs and schools throughout Canada for nearly 30 years.

Ms. Hawley has presented at numerous events including Festival 500, Podium and the International Symposium of Singing and Song II . She was on the ACCC Podium Committee (Ottawa), wrote the children’s choir column for Anacrusis from 2013 to 2016 and is a Choirs Ontario Board Member. Ms. Hawley has adjudicated nationally and was a jury member for the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs (2017). Ms. Hawley was also Artistic Director of the Ottawa Children’s Choir and Music Director of its Chamber Choir from 2008-2015.

Ms. Hawley is the Music Director of the National Arts Centre’s 500-voice “Music Monday” choral event, and works frequently with the Education Department of the National Arts Centre. A former music educator with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Ms. Hawley continues to offer courses on music leadership to in-service teachers. A co-founder of the Nipiit-Katittut – Voices United (NKVU) educational engagement project, Ms. Hawley has developed an educational initiative that connects choristers with youth in Iqaluit to build community and promote leadership skills, musical artistry and cultural enlightenment.

Ms. Hawley graduated from University of Toronto with an honours degree in Music Education and from University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Education.

Jackie Hawley Recommends Christmas Repertoire for Children’s Choirs

Hodie Christus Natus Est

Hodie Christus Natus Est
Michael Bedford

  • This work is very accessible and quick to learn. It has an antiphonal style with a joyful opener, pleasing for singers and audience alike. Suitable for beginner level and up.

December

December
James Wright

  • A setting of wonderful poetry, this work by Ottawa composer James Wright has a lyrical melody, rich harmonies, and a beautiful piano accompaniment. It is suitable for a strong intermediate or advanced choir.

Mid-Winter

Mid-Winter
Bob Chilcott

  • A beautiful setting of a wonderful text by Christina Rosetti (In the Bleak Midwinter). This work features a moving melody and lovely piano part that is ideal for intermediate choirs and up.

I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In

I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In
Edward Henderson

  • A lively setting of a traditional carol, featuring a fun, jig-style piano part and contrasting “bell chime” in the middle section. Suitable for advanced choirs with divisi.

Hearth and Fire

Hearth and Fire
Willi Zwozdesky

  • A lovely piece to conclude a program, leaving audiences with warm wishes, rich harmonies, and a lyrical melody. Suitable for intermediate choirs and up.

Snow

Snow
John E. Govedas

  • A haunting piece in 9/8 time with powerful word painting in the melody and piano part. Effective use of dissonance near the end of the work. Suitable for beginners.

This Little Babe

This Little Babe
Benjamin Britten

  • A fast-poaced, exciting finale, this three-part round from A Ceremony of Carols is a masterpiece that will show off a strong intermediate or advanced choir. Interesting metaphorical text.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Ruth Artman

  • A lovely Robert Frost poem with nice melodic contrasts between lyrical and rhythmic sections, interesting harmonies with smooth modulations. Suitable for intermediate level choirs and up.

Ding Dong! Merrily on High

Ding Dong! Merrily on High
Ruth Artman

  • Very simple and quick to learn, this is a fun setting with a part for glockenspiel. Simple effective harmony using canon and some vertical divisi. Suitable for a beginner choir.

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
John Rutter

  • A celebratory three-part piece that makes a great finale! An interesting variety of harmonization in different verses. Effective with piano or harp accompaniment and suitable for intermediate to advanced choirs.
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