“Go with the Wise Men” — Christmas (or Epiphany) anthem for SATB voices and piano, with optional flute; words by John Parker; music by Stan Pethel.
The D minor tonality paired with swing eighths is a humorous musical image of the traveling wise men in search of the Christ child. Unison women open stanza one introducing us to the wise men with treasure in tow. Unison men join in harmony against the melody at measure 13 to complete the stanza. Divided refrain invites us to go in search of the Savior, the King. A key change moves up to E flat minor with unison men presenting the stanza two melody, singing of the holy family. Divided women use longer rhythms and slower moving text in support. The refrain returns simply transposed. Another key change moves up to E minor with stanza three set homophonic revealing the worship of the Christ child by those who sought his birth place. The final refrain retains its previous formula with a quiet coda ending the anthem.
The piano accompaniment defines the style, supports the harmonic structure, and brings rhythmic interest to the anthem. Note the key changes, use of accidentals, and the E flat minor key signature. This will require a confident and skilled player. The vocal parts are suited to most four-part ensembles. The flute part is not difficult but requires an accomplished player due to the key signature requirements. A separate flute part is included in the score.
Performance options include an instrumental part, however cues are included in the choral score as needed. Consider using this setting with youth or adults.
Appropriate days: services in Christmastide or Epiphany.
Age Level 6-8
Difficulty of vocal parts 6
Difficulty of accompaniment 8