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Folk Songs for Choirs - Oxford Books 1 & 2

Edward Bairstow, John Byrt, Edward T. Chapman, Percy Grainger, Gustav Holst, Donald James, E.j. Moeran, John Rutter, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Peter Warlock, David Willcocks

JEFFREY HUNT, conductor

Vocal Soloists:
David Hunt and David Hartley
AnDréa James
Karen Lukose
Antonio Quaranta
Douglas Peters
Michael Popplewell
Steve Williamson



“Jeffrey Hunt and the St. Charles Singersare to be applauded for setting their minds to this task, resulting in a very good and unique recording... the singing on the recording is admirable.”
Journal of the Associatikns of Anglican Musicians [October 2018]
“[The St. Charles Singers] do well with the music. The singing is spirited”
Greenfield, American Record Guide [September/October 2016]
“'s good to know that a new collection for mixed voices in two volumes edited by John Rutter and published by the OUP has recently appeared and also that twenty-five British and American folk songs and arrangements have been recorded here... [The St. Charles Singers'] singing is marked by passion and commitment... The sound is fresh and full of the ‘right sort’ of character for this repertoire... The St. Charles Singers cannot be faulted technically... The CD notes are very helpful. Each piece is given a few lines of description on the tune and/or on the composer and there are interspersed photographs. All texts are clearly given... This CD must have been good fun to record and is rare if not unique. Anyone interested in British song, and, true there are also some fine American folk-songs like the fun-loving Sourwood Mountain will find this disc of interest as indeed will most choral conductors.”
Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International [May 2016]
"...all possess a smooth mellifluousness that lets the words be clearly heard and allows this very fine singing group to show its ability to blend, emphasize, and evoke a wide variety of emotions... the performances are polished, professional and thoroughly engaging... [a] very well-blended vocal ensemble"
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [April 2016]
Bushes and Briars, the title song of our recording, is one of twenty-five arrangements for unaccompanied, mixed voices, compiled in Books 1 and 2 of Folk Songs for Choirs (Oxford Press), edited by John Rutter. Some of the finest choral arrangements of both British and American folk songs are found in this collection. On several occasions, St. Charles Singers has had the honor of singing many of these treasured arrangements under Mr. Rutter’s direction, and we are grateful to him for his friendship and inspiration.

As a singer, conductor, and music educator, I have long appreciated the intrinsic value of folk music. It is music of the people, collected and documented often centuries ago, by individuals intent on preserving these musical moments in time. A debt of gratitude is owed those individuals who sought out and wrote down these songs so that we may know something of the people, places, and experiences from which they originated.

The tales of happy love, lamented love, home, and work expressed in these songs resonate with each passing generation because they are timeless. In spite of our technologically saturated, rapidly changing world, these songs ground us and remind us that the essence of our human experience does not change. They offer us a unique opportunity to walk in the past, recreating as we go, attaching our present day emotion and understanding to what was surely felt when these songs were first sung.

By sharing this beautiful and authentic music with you, it is our hope that we all become more keenly aware of how much we have in common with one another—past, present, and future. [Jeffrey Hunt]

The St. Charles Singers is an internationally recognized choir that regularly performs in venues throughout the greater Chicago area. The ensemble has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs with the Metropolis Chamber Orchestra. The choir has toured internationally and has sung under the direction of John Rutter, Timothy Brown, James Conlon, Rossen Milanov, Robert Hansen, Jeanette Sorrell, Philip Moore, and Craig Hella Johnson. Recently, the choir has embarked on The Mozart Journey, an historic undertaking of seventeen concerts through which the complete known volume of Mozart’s sacred choral compositions will be performed and recorded. The choir regularly commissions new choral music for the ensemble, including works by Charles Forsberg, George Shearing, Guyla Feketa, Robert Boyd, Nathaniel Adams, and Scott Stevenson.

Jeffrey Hunt is the director of St. Charles Singers, which he founded in 1984. Under Hunt’s leadership the choir has produced three commercial recordings. Hunt also serves as Director of Music at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles, Illinois where he leads an active music program, and is an adjunct faculty member at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois. He is active in Chorus America and ACDA where he serves on the Illinois board as chair of Music and Worship. Hunt enjoys the opportunity of working with both amateur and professional musicians, and maintains a voice studio for students and adults. Jeffrey Hunt received a B.M. from Taylor University and an M.M. In Choral Conducting from Northwestern University.

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BOOKS 1 & 2
[Oxford University Press]

O Waly, Waly
Early One Morning
She’s Like the Swallow
Among the Leaves So Green, O
Bushes and Briars
Bobby Shaftoe
Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron
Londonderry Air
My Sweetheart’s Like Venus
Black Sheep
Sourwood Mountain
Afton Water
I Love My Love
Brigg Fair
Strawberry Fair
Faithful Johnny
The Three Ravens
The Keel Row
Ca’ the Yowes
The Oak and the Ash
The Sailor and Young Nancy
Swansea Town
The Turtle Dove
Yarmouth Fair

Arrangements: Edward Bairstow, John Byrt, Edward T. Chapman, Percy Grainger, Gustav Holst, Donald James, E.J. Moeran, John Rutter, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Peter Warlock (adaption: C. Armstrong Gibbs) and David Willcocks.

MSR Classics
20th and 21st Century Choral Music ST. CHARLES …