Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » What the Relief Society Choruses Sang, pre-1950

What the Relief Society Choruses Sang, pre-1950

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 30, 2013

In 1950 the general Relief Society cleaned house … at least the part of the house where they stored the sheet music for the numbers performed by the Singing Mothers and other choruses in General and Relief Society conferences for the previous who-knows-how-many years. Ward and stake Relief Societies were invited to purchase the unwanted music on a first-come first-served, cash-and-carry basis at the Relief Society’s main office in the Bishop’s Building, Salt Lake City.

Here is what was for sale, according to a catalog sent to the local organizations:

Title – Composer; Publisher; parts, comments. Number available, price

“All Hail Thee” (The Pilgrims’ Chorus, from Tannhauser) – R. Wagner; Schirmer, N.Y.; 4 parts, hard and high; fair condition. 72 copies, 6c each.

“All Through the Night” – Harold Boulton; Presser, Phila.; four parts, can be sung without 4th part; fair condition. 56 copies, 3c each.

“The Almighty” – Franz Schubert, arr. by Louis Victor Saar; No.12,616, Ditson, Boston; 3 parts, sop. obligato, glorious number, high, extremely hard and needs fine chorus; fair condition. 69 copies, 7c each.

“Annie Laurie” – Scott-Grey; No.1410, J.A. Parks Co., York, Neb.; 3 parts, easy, sings a “g” in soprano; fair condition. 38 copies, 7c each.

“As My Dear Old Mother” – Antonin Dvorak; No.13,888, Oliver Ditson Co., Boston; 3 parts with alto solo, can be done with soloist and chorus, fairly easy; fair condition. 52 copies, 6c each.

“At Dawning” – Charles Wakefield Cadman; No. 13,494,Oliver Ditson Co., New York; 3 parts, fair condition. 6 copies, 7c each.

“Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms: – Irish Air, arr. by Ross Hilton; No.13,114, Oliver Ditson Co., Boston; 4 parts, can easily be used for three part singing; fair condition. 53 copies, 5c each.

“By the Bend of the River” – Clara Edwards, arr. by Frank Hemstreet; No. 7526, G. Schirmer, inc., N.Y.;3 parts, good for concert or special number, not hard nor high; fair condition. 60 copies, 7c each.

“Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” – James Bland, arr. by Ross Hilton; No. 12,637, Oliver Ditson Co.,Boston; 4 parts, good, not hard nor high; fair condition. 59 copies, 7c each.

“Crossing the Bar” – Barnby-Asper; Deseret News Press, Salt Lake City; 4 parts, very low and high. 97 used copies, 5c each; 36 new copies, 7c each.

“Danny Boy” – Adapted from an old Irish air by Fred E. Weatherly, arr. by Ruth L. Hausman; No.1357, Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.,N.Y.; 3 parts, high soprano note; fair condition. 78 copies, 7c each.

“Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes” – Old English Air, arr. by Hans Lichter; No.11,332, Oliver Ditson Co., Boston; 4 parts, rather low for altos; fair condition. 57 copies, 4c each.

“God Bless America”– Irving Berlin, arr. by Charles Butelle; Irving Berlin, Inc.; 4 parts, easy; fair condition. 69 copies, 10c each.

“The Heavens Are Telling” – Josef Haydn, arr. by Glen Carle; No. 735, Boston Music Co., G. Schirmer, Inc., N.Y.; 3 parts, not hard, fine number; old copies. 50 copies, 5c each.

“Home, Sweet Home” – Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, arr. by N. Clifford Page; No. 11,758, Oliver Ditson Co., Boston; 4 parts, can be sung as 3-part leaving out low alto; fair condition. 69 copies, 7c each.

“Holy Redeemer” (Ave Maria) – F. Marchetti, adapted by W.M. Richardson; No. 256, Ditson Co., Boston; 3 parts; fair condition. 71 copies, 7c each.

“Holy Art Thou” (Largo from Xerxes) – George Frederick Handel, arr. by Ross Hilton; No. 13,487, Oliver Ditson Co., New York; 4 parts, high, might use few voices for upper solo part; fair condition. 93 used copies, 7c each; 23 new copies, 10c each.

“The Hills of Home” – Oscar J. Fox, arr. by G. Ackley Brower; No. 5085,CarlFischer, Inc., New York; 3 parts, good, home song, high soprano; new copies. 78 copies, 10c each.

“He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd” – Handel-Kountz; No. 5017, M. Witmark & Sons; 3 parts, good for soloists and chorus; fair condition. 44 copies, 8c each.

“How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” – Johannes Brahms; No.2897,M.Witmark & Sons, N.Y.; 3 parts, fine, rather hard; good condition. 83 copies, 12c each.

“How Lovely Are the Messengers” – Mendelssohn; No. 4371, G. Schirmer, N.Y.; 3 parts, very fine; fair condition. 73 copies, 7c each.

“Hear My Prayer” – Will James, arr. by Kenneth Downing; No. 8943, Schirmer, N.Y.; 3 parts, fine number, not hard nor high; fair condition. 138 copies, 8c each.

“Inflammatus et Accensus” – Rossini; No. 89005, Harold Flammer, N.Y.; 3 parts, not hard for chorus but has difficult soprano solo, very high; fair condition. 68 copies, 12c each.

“In the Time of Roses” – Luise Reichardt, arr. by N. Clifford Page; No. 11,804, Ditson Co., Boston; 3 parts, not hard nor high; fair condition. 28 copies, 6c each.

“King of Love” – Daniel Protheros; No. 9001, Harold Flammer, N.Y.; 3 parts, high for soprano, but a good number; fair condition. 68 copies, 7c each.

“Lake of Dreams” – Camille Saint-Saens, arr. by Samuel Richards Gaines, with violin obligato; No. 14,074, Ditson Co., Boston; very hard and high; fair condition. 61 copies, 10c each.

“Lamb of God” – George Bizet, arr. by A.H. Ryder; No. 12,610, Ditson Co., Boston; 3 parts, needs soloist, good, high in spots; fair condition. 41 copies, 7c each.

“Land of Hope and Glory” – Edward Elgar, arr. by Arthur Fagge; No. 926, Boosey, N.Y.; 3 parts, good patriotic song, can leave first two pages out if desired; fair condition. 48 copies, 7c each.

“Lead Kindly Light” – Godard-Parks; No. 742, J.A. Parks Co., York, Nebr.; 3 parts, needs soloist (tune of Jocelyn Lullaby); fair condition. 31 copies, 7c each.

“Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite” – George Frederick Handel, trans. by Clara Tillinghast; No.2902, M. Witmark & Sons, N.Y.; 3 parts, very hard and high, concert number, needs good chorus; good condition. 98 copies,12c each.

“Lift Thine Eyes” (from Oratorio Elijah) – F. Mendelssohn; No. 6267, Theo. Presser Co. and Oliver Ditson Co.; 3 parts, good; fair condition; 136 copies, 4c each.

“The Lord’s Prayer” – B. Cecil Gates; No. 52, Choir Publ. Co.; 3 parts, very fine; fair condition. 71 copies, 10c each.

“The Lord’s Prayer” – Josephine Forsyth, arr. by Chas. Dewes; No. 7782, Schirmer, N.Y.; 3 parts, good number, not difficult; fair condition. 62 copies, 5c each.

“List the Cherubic Host” – Alfred R. Gaul; No. 3570, Ditson Co., Boston; 4 parts, very fine concert number with baritone solo, good Christmas number; fair condition. 58 copies, 7c each.

“The Lost Chord” – Sir Arthur Sullivan, arr. by Hartley Moore; No. 13,911, Oliver Ditson Co.; 3 parts, good familiar number; fair condition. 67 copies, 6c each.

“Lullaby and Good Night” – J. Brahms; No. 13,106, Oliver Ditson Co., N.Y.; 3 parts, very easy and lovely, especially for Christmas time; fair condition. 37 copies, 5c each.

“Mighty Lak’ a Rose” – Ethelbert Nevin; No. 35,145, Presser, Phila.; 4 parts, effective for concert use with soprano soloist; fair condition. 46 copies, 6c each.

“The Morning Breaks: – Evan Stephens, Parley P. Pratt; a sacred duet; fair condition. 56 copies, 20c each.

“Nazareth” – C.H. Gounod, arr. by W.W. Gilchrist; Schirmer, N.Y., good for Christmas, high for sopranos; fair condition. 70 copies, 7c each.

“None but the Lonely Heart” – Peter I. Tchaikovsky, arr. by G. Warning Stebbins; No. 14,017, Ditson Co., Boston; good concert number, has two high notes for soprano; fair condition. 51 copies, 8c each.

“O Leave Your Sheep” – Cecil Hazlehurst; No.2425, Boosey, N.Y.; 3 parts, a Christmas number, high for sopranos; fair condition. 97 copies, 7c each.

“The Old Refrain” – Fritz Kreisler, arr. by N. Clifford Page; No. 5035, Fischer, N.Y.; 3 parts, good, appropriate for Mother’s Day; fair condition. 57 copies, 10c each.

“O Morn of Beauty” – Jean Sibelius, arr. by H. Alexander Mattews; Ditson Co., Boston; 6 parts, good, very low for altos; fair condition. 66 copies, 7c each.

“One Sweetly Solemn Thought” – E.S. Ambrose, arr. by E.N. Anderson; No. 7832, Ditson Co., Boston; quartet, can be used as 3-part number by omitting low alto part, no piano accompaniment; fair condition. 60 copies, 6c each.

“Panis Angelicus (O Bread of Life)” – Cesar Franck, arr by Victor Harris; No. 13,651, Ditson Co., Boston; 3 parts, fine, needs soloist or small group; fair condition. 61 copies, 7c each.

“Pirate Dreams” – Charles Huerter; No. 13,715, Ditson Co., Boston; 3 parts, a lullaby song, easy, good for programs; fair condition. 45 copies, 7c each.

“Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion” (from the “Messiah”) – Handel-Kountz; No.5016, Witmark, N.Y.; 3 parts, very hard technically, needs young voices; fair condition. 67 copies, 7c each.

“Repentance” – Charles Gounod; No.13,919, Oliver Ditson Co., Boston; good number, hard and high, needs two soloists, soprano and alto; fair condition. 68 copies, 8c each.

“Resurrection Morning” – B. Cecil Gates; Choir Publ. Co., Salt Lake City; women’s voices, fine for Easter; fair condition. 90 copies, 60c each. (“Resurrection Morning” was originally written for women’s voices. With the thought of broadening the usefulness of this work, the composer has arranged additional parts for men’s voices so that it may also be sung by a mixed chorus with the following arrangements: SSATB or SSAB.)

Parks’ Sacred Quartets, No. 3; J.A. Parks Co., York, Nebr.; 4 part chorus, for female voices; very soiled. 26 copies, 20c each.

“Sanctus” (from St. Cecilia Mass) – Charles Gounod; No. 734, Boston Music Co., Boston; 3 parts, high, hard, needs good singers; fair condition. 90 copies, 10c each.

“Sanctus” – Dudley Buck; No. 5166, G. Schirmer, New York; 3 parts, very high, but good; fair condition. 34 copies, 6c each.

“Seraphic Song” – Anton Rubinstein; No. 13,981, Ditson Co., Boston; 4 parts, fine, hard, concert number, with also solo and violin obligato; fair condition. 125 copies, 15c each.

“Song of May” – Frank Asper; No. 516,Car Fischer, Inc., New York; 3 parts, a good spring chorus, fairly difficult; fair condition. 76 copies, 6c each.

“Spring and Love” – J. Gall; Luckhardt & Belder, New York; 3 parts, rather high, light, best for young voices; fair condition. 48 copies, 8c each.

“Spring Song” – F. Mendelssohn, C. Gounod, arr. by Ross Hilton; No. 12,260, Ditson Co., Boston; very high and difficult, needs a good group of young singers; fair condition. 33 copies, 5c each.

“The Virgin’s Slumber-Song” – Max Reger, Arr. by Anton Beckers; No.91, Association Music, N.Y.; Christmas lullaby, not hard, good; fair condition. 95 copies, 8c each.

“Where My Caravan Has Rested” – Hermann Lohr; No.3053, Chappell-Harms, Inc., N.Y.; 3 parts, uses high sopranos, good song; fair condition. 46 copies, 7c each.

“Who Is Sylvia?” – Franz Schubert, arr. by A.G. Ryder; No. 12,307, Oliver Ditson Co., N.Y.; 3 parts, good concert song, not hard nor high (words by Shakespeare); fair condition. 67 copies, 6c each.

“Woo Thou Sweet Music” – Edward Elgar, arr. by N. Clifford Page; No. 12,034, Ditson Co., Boston; 3 parts, high for sopranos, needs a young group; fair condition. 71 copies, 6c each.



  1. I’m really disappointed that the first number–the Pilgrim’s Chorus from Tannhäuser–wasn’t described as “better than it sounds.”

    And, as to “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place,” I disagree with the description “rather hard.” I’d put it somewhere between “impossible” and “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Or at least that’s where I’d put the tenor part. Maybe they found an arrangement for women’s voices that skips those ten measures.

    Comment by Mark B. — May 30, 2013 @ 7:33 am

  2. I’m glad our ward choir director didn’t see this list. He’s very good, but has a penchant for getting us into harder songs than our small choir with limited talent can handle. He would have bought everything that was described as hard or difficult, and certainly would have been all over Mark’s top choice of “How Lovely is The Dwelling Place.”

    I’m also impressed with the wide range, including the preponderance of items by classical composers, and not just the obvious ones, ie Sibelius, Saint-Saens, etc.

    Comment by kevinf — May 30, 2013 @ 9:44 am

  3. Oh my heck! The Moody Blues were in search of “The Lost Chord!”

    And Dr. Hook knows who Sylvia is!

    Comment by Grant — May 30, 2013 @ 10:40 am

  4. Pirate Dreams?

    Comment by Carol — May 30, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  5. The song selection here reminds me of the old “Sing Unto God” choirbook with the purple/burgundy cover. I don’t have one immediately available, but mid-1950s vintage seems about right. Like the above list, it focuses heavily on the religious compositions of classical composers, and was eventually supplanted in the late 1970s with the current “The Choirbook.”

    As much as I enjoyed going through this playlist in my head, the main benefit for me was finding the link on the Singing Mothers. That must have been posted before I discovered my favorite corner of the bloggernacle.

    Comment by The Other Clark — May 30, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

  6. Aww, thanks, TOClark! Yes, that predates Keepa, and even predates my time at T&S. This is one of a series I wrote for my ward Relief Society newspaper back in the day.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 30, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

  7. For the “Can we sing this in Sacrament Meeting?” debate, I think it’s noteworthy that only a few of these pieces are notated as being “concert” pieces. That suggests to me that the compiler of this list may have assumed that the rest of the religious-based pieces were A-OK for singing in church meetings. [sighs] I think the reverse assumption is true today: unless it’s a hymn, it’s presumed to be inappropriate for church meetings. I note that such an attitude would omit not only the great classical masters above, Handel, Brahms, Franck, Sibelius, etc., but also a contemporary, home-grown LDS composer like Cecil Gates. [sighs again]

    Comment by David Y. — May 31, 2013 @ 9:52 am

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