Sacred Music for the Concert Hall

Scott Foss, known throughout the United States as a conductor and clinician of both sacred and secular choral music, is the classical and concert choral editor for Hal Leonard Publishing, the worlds largest music publisher. In that role, he manages choral publications for G.Schirmer, Boosey & Hawkes and Mark Foster Publishing. Prior to this position, he was executive editor for Roger Dean Publishing Company for more than twenty years. Mr. Foss served as Director of Music at the First United Methodist Church in Madison where he conducted the Senior Choir, Chamber Choir and Handbell Choir and coordinated the activities of a variety of other musical organizations with the church. Mr Foss has directed more than 30 musical theatre productions for Four Seasons Theatre, CTM-Madison Family Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre and The University of Wisconsin Theatre Dept. Mr. Foss learned the music industry end of the music profession at Ward Brodt Music Company where he was choral music manager and general manager of the sheet music department for 11 years. In that role, he nurtured the sheet music department into one of the largest and most respected operations in the country.

Handel’s Messiah. There have been few aesthetically stimulating gifts to humankind that have been appreciated more than Handel’s great oratorio Messiah. Generations past, present, and future have found and will continue to find what is often unparalleled musical and spiritual stimulation in this truly monumental work. Its creative evolution certainly was derived from a source higher than merely human.

Since it was first performed in a concert hall in Dublin in 1742, the “place” to hear sacred music has been ever expanding. Up until this time, sacred music was only to be heard in the cathedral or sanctuary. This was, indeed, a watershed moment for choral music and specifically sacred choral music.

The scope and possibilities to hear sacred music is ever expanding today and the music of Advent and Christmas is certainly the beneficiary of this. From FM radio stations that play “music of the season” 24 hours a day in the weeks leading up to Christmas, to shopping malls, nursing homes, and hospitals where local High School choirs sing Christmas Madrigals, and nearly every other public space we can imagine; what a wonderful way to celebrate this most wonderful and holy time of the Christian year.

As the Concert and Classical Choral editor for Hal Leonard I am always thrilled at the new and inspiring concert music for Christmas that is submitted for review. The sacred birth of Jesus continues to inspire composers in wonderful ways, and we are constantly challenged to publish new music that creates fresh possibilities for presentation and ways to spread the good news of Jesus’ birth.

This year is no exception and an incredible amount of new Christmas music for Concert, stage and the large church choir is available. Jeffrey Van wrote “Christmas Lullaby” for the Dale Warland Singers and this beautiful piece for SATB divisi choir, solo and harp is now available (cat. #35031217). The legendary and brilliant Alice Parker has arranged “Joy To The World” for SATB Choir, trumpet solo and congregation (cat. #00200949), and and upcoming and exceptionally talented composer, Tom Trenney, has delivered a magnificent arrangement of “O Come All Ye Faithful” (cat. #0202250). Franklin Gallo has written an original piece—“Streets of Snow” (cat. #48023903) lifting up the horrible plight of the homeless who must walk the cold, snowy streets alone in winter, but offers hope through the birth that we all must and will do more as Jesus has instructed through his teachings.

The list of new concert music for Advent and Christmas is formidable and exciting, and I hope that you will visit our web site to see and hear more music for the season.

Scott Foss

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