Page 80 - Voice for Life Songbook 1
P. 80

                                20. O when the saints
This well-known song comes from the gospel tradition. The text, based on imagery from the book of Revelation, refers to Christ’s Second Coming. The saints mentioned in the song include all believers marching on the way to the kingdom of heaven.
Teaching the song
This song is so well-known that it will require little rehearsal, but you will need to allow some time for working on the descant part.
Make sure the choir know when to enter after the piano introduction.You could help by counting the rests with them the first time through and then asking them to do it internally thereafter. Encourage them to prepare by taking a breath at the start of the bar: if they snatch a breath just before they come in they are liable to be late.
Encourage the singers on the descant part to ‘feel’ rather than count the rhythm for their first entry. It may help them to begin by singing the start of the melody line followed by the start of the descant part (this will also ensure that they find their first note). Once it is secure, ask them to stop singing the melody and instead to think it in their heads before they come in. If they listen to the start of the melody before taking a breath their entry is likely to be late, so remind them to start breathing early!
It may be helpful to rehearse the ‘yeah’ at the end of the song in isolation before putting it back into context. (You will need to decide in advance whether you want it to be in a stage whisper or shouted.) Count four aloud in tempo and ask your singers to say ‘yeah’ on the last beat of the bar. Once the ensemble is tight, sing through the whole of the last verse.
Musical skills and understanding
What is a glissando? You will hear one played on the piano in the last verse of this song. How do you achieve the same effect with your voice?
Listen to the piano part in the introduction. Can your singers describe the pattern of notes in the bass? (It moves down in semitones, with octave leaps in between, making a chromatic scale.)
What is the interval between the first two notes of the melody? Is it major or minor?
Track 20

   78   79   80   81   82