Reginald Unterseher is Music Director and Composer-in-Residence at Shalom United Church of Christ, Richland, Washington. His works are published by Oxford University Press, Walton Music, and through NW Choral Publishing at www.reginaldunterseher.com.
SSATB or SATB with Treble Choir, with piano and (opt. string quartet)
With music and words expressing determination to find a way forward after challenges, this piece reminds us that we “know what hope feels like inside,” and encourages us to move into the future “with purpose, with grace, the sun in my soul, golden light on my face.” It can be done with SSATB choirs, or a combined Treble and SATB choir, with piano and optional string quartet. Commissioned in celebration of Rainier Youth Choirs’ 15th Anniversary Season, Leora Schwitters, Founder and Artistic Director. Click here to learn more about poet Jordan Chaney.
The Star-Spangled Banner and O Canada SSAA/TTBB, SSA
A simple but important opportunity for choirs to sing for audiences that often would not otherwise hear you is for sporting and other public gatherings where National Anthems are sung at the beginning of the event.
Here are arrangements of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and arrangements of “O Canada” in both English and French that you are welcome to freely use. O Canada has been updated to reflect the word change from June, 2016. The words “in all thy sons command” have been changed to “in all of us command.”
Email Me (don’t leave a reply below, I need an email message) with the specifics of your needs and I will be happy to send the scores. They are all designed to particularly be useful for school and community choral programs. They are straight ahead versions, easy to learn, uncomplicated but rich. Assemblies, sporting events of many sorts, whenever the singing of National Anthems is called for, get your singers out there in front of the public! There are now also Three Part Treble Voices versions of both anthems designed for children’s voices without the low notes the 4-part version requires.
Quartets, octets, small groups or large, there are many ways to use these arrangements. The upper voices can sing it by themselves, the lower voices can sing it by themselves, and all parts can sing together, creating an easy 8 part arrangement. Additional ways to sing it are suggested in the score.
This arrangement is registered with ASCAP, so please list my name as arranger in any programs. If you make a video and post it on line, please also list my name as arranger and my web site as the source for the score.
“Atomic Soldiers” sets the words of soldiers who were subjected to tests of nuclear weapon explosions in battleground situations, excerpted with the kind permission of the New York Times and Morgan Knibbe, filmmaker, from the documentary “The Atomic Soldiers” released in 2019. These soldiers were prevented from speaking about their experiences until the 1990’s, and could have been charged with treason for doing so before that. Musically, it revisits the opening descending figure of the Prologue, and this time it takes the form of a chaconne. The soldiers’ parts, rather than being given to an individual voice, are taken by sections of the chorus. In their interviews, the soldiers tell the stories one at a time, in a linear fashion, but when sung by the chorus, the lines can be re-constructed and layered upon each other as well.
Premiere performance, recorded inside the B Reactor.
The choral version of this piece from the song cycle for tenor, chorus, and piano. Heart-pounding, intense. “It is a condition of wisdom in the archer to be patient because when the arrow leaves the bow, it returns no more.” Sa’di
Composed for the Washington ACDA Summer Institute Commissioning Project, with a poem by Afrose Fatima Ahmed, this piece uses images of a bear coming out of hibernation and a conversation with a raven to explore societal changes, looking to the future with courage. “This morning the world cries out its song, I hope you opened your ears to hear it, too.” Click here to learn more about the poet.
Mezzo and Baritone soloists, SATB Chorus, chamber orchestra
Nuclear Dreams: an Oral History of the Hanford Site is a concert-length work exploring the stories and night dreams of those who lived or worked on the land that became the site of the B Reactor, the first full production plutonium reactor in history, part of the Manhattan Project. Plutonium from the B Reactor was used for the Trinity test explosion and the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
Upper Voices, Lower Voices, or Mixed Voices with piano
“Glad that I live, am I!” This setting of Lizette Woodworth Reese’s poem is full of joy, hope, and positive energy, to lift up and inspire both your singers and audiences. A particularly effective piece for festivals and festival choirs. It is now available for Upper Voices, Lower Voices, and Mixed voices with Piano.
The energy, hope and positive energy in the poem is reinforced by the layered rhythms and syncopations in both the piano and voice parts. The poem is divided into three parts. The first part is an expression of the feeling of the joy of the natural world. The middle section explores in simple terms the cyclical nature of natural systems. When the musical material returns, it is both recognizable and developed a little more each time. The third section introduces the last lines of the poems as a mantra, repeated back and forth between two parts while a descant group soars above them.
A Little Song of Life
Glad that I live am I; That the sky is blue; Glad for the country lanes, And the fall of dew. After the sun the rain, After the rain the sun; This is the way of life, Till the work be done. All that we need to do, Be we low or high, Is to see that we grow Nearer the sky.