Evolutionary Spirits

Check out the third track

Angels Sang With Mirth and Glee (SATB a cappella)

Complete performance by Donald Nally and The Crossing here:

The Inside Story: James Shrader and EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS

JULY 17TH, 2019

James Shrader is a retired Professor of Music at Valdosta State University in Valdosta GA, and also taught at Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Texas Tech University. He was a visiting professor at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. For 13 years, Jim was Director of Music and Fine Arts at the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland. He is past president of the Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians and past president of the Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Association.

Today, Jim is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to discover what this album, and this collaboration with The Crossing, means to him personally…

What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?

When I was Associate Conductor of Choral Activities at Texas Tech, I was conducting the Women’s Ensemble in their season debut concert. I dutifully sent them onstage and then made my entrance to the usual conductor’s applause. I bowed, turned to the choir to begin, when, to my horror, I realized I had forgotten my music and my stand was empty! I quickly left the stage (without explanation) and dashed to my studio to retrieve my scores. After what seemed like an eternity, I returned to the stage holding aloft my music and trying to disguise my embarrassment.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Since my retirement in 2016, in addition to composing, I became a licensed Realtor and joined my wife’s real estate team. I also earned my FAA Part 107 Unmanned Aircraft Pilot’s license. My guilty pleasure is to fly my DJI Phantom 4 Professional drone either shooting aerial photography for our business or just to fly for fun.

If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Our son and daughter-in-law are both very successful international opera stars. However, their greatest achievement was, four years ago, the arrival of their daughter (and our granddaughter!), Eva. To our great joy, my wife and I became grandparent “nannies” and have accompanied this operatic family in many adventures around the world. To observe the creativity of this toddler emerge through her myriad experiences has been amazing. I happily spend my creative time with her, receiving great inspiration!

What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

The sound of The Crossing on the very first phrase of the recording session perfectly aligned with the sound I heard in my head as I was composing the music. It’s truly amazing when this occurs. I had anticipated that their sound would be just right for my music and I was thrilled to be correct!

What does this album mean to you personally?

To have one’s creation performed by any ensemble is always a unique and satisfying experience. But in the hands of Donald Nally and the voices of The Crossing, this experience becomes incomparable! I have heard my music performed by many ensembles, but never where I could close my eyes and think, “There – that’s exactly what I had in mind!” The technical expertise of PARMA’s engineers only serves to highlight and heighten the listening experience. I am very grateful to all for this opportunity and experience.

Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?

Since my days as a full-time church musician and through my time in academia, I have been committed to composing music for my various in-house ensembles. It developed that my personal creative preference became music for the Nativity season. The majority of my choral works center on Christmas and Advent. I prefer the English choral sound that is epitomized in the King’s Nine Lessons and Carols service. While many choirs, including my own, have performed my music, the sound of The Crossing on this recording perfectly aligns with my thoughts to make this music come alive. My music is well-suited to university and advanced church choirs and I am encouraged to welcome more live performances.



Check out Tracks 8 & 9!

Balulalow (SATB a cappella)

In the Bleak Midwinter (SATB a cappella)

On Christmas Night (SATB and Piano)

On Christmas Night performed by the Sine Nomine Singers, Dr. David Johnson conducting.

Now also available from Colla Voce in an arrangement for men’s choir, flute and harp.

Balulalow (SATB a cappella)

A new tune set to the traditional Scottish lullaby text.

Balulalow performed  by the Valdosta State University Chamber Singers, Dr. Paul Neal conducting

In the Bleak Midwinter (SATB a cappella)

A new tune set to the text by Christina Rossetti

In the Bleak Midwinter performed by the Valdosta State University Chamber Singers, Dr. Paul Neal conducting


More Choral Compositions by James Shrader published by
Colla Voce Music, LLC
PO BOX 20484
Indianapolis, IN 46220
Phone: 317/466-0624
Fax: 317/466-0638

Trust in Me (SATB a cappella)

A contemporary setting of the Shaker Tune from 1876

Trust in Me performed by the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Chorale, Dr. James Shrader conducting

Love Came Down at Christmas (SATB a cappella)

A new tune set to the text by Christina Rossetti

(I’m looking for a recording of this piece – contact me if you did one and would like it to appear here)


Choral Compositions by James Shrader published by SMP Press (Sheet Music Plus)

Adam Lay Ybounden
(Two-part mixed choir, soprano solo, keyboard)
15th century (Sloane MS 2593)

Perfect for early on in your Lessons and Carols service!

Adam Lay Ybounden performed by the Sine Nomine Singers, Dr. David Johnson conducting

I Saw Three Ships 
(Unison Choir; Flute, Clarinet, Percussion, Optional Guitar, and Keyboard)

Traditional English Carol with a quodlibet of carols in the accompaniment! (Children play the percussion and guitar parts!)
This is perfect for your children’s choir!

Watchman, Tell Us of the Night
(Antiphonal unison choirs, double bass, vibraphone or piano)

Here is a setting of Joseph Parry’s tune,  Aberysywyth (1879), with the familiar John Bowring text (1825). There are two versions – one with Double Bass, Vibraphone, and incidental oboe; and another with piano and oboe.  Both versions are for antiphonal choirs (any voicings). As always, please share with your church music professional and let me know if it is performed! Here is the version with piano accompaniment and oboe:

Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates
(Unison Choir and Organ)

This is an original setting of Psalm 24:9. It is a tranquil and reflective treatment of the familiar text ending with a thoughtful “Hosanna.”  This is a perfect Psalm Sunday piece for your children’s choir, but will work with an older mixed choir as well. There is a version available with piano accompaniment.

Create in Me A Clean Heart
(SAB Choir and Organ)

This is a setting of Psalm 51:10-12 for SAB Choir and Organ. It could be used as a short anthem or service for music as an introit or response. There is a version available for SAB with piano accompaniment and oboe solo.

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling 
(Unison Choir and Piano)

This is an original setting of the familiar text by Charles Wesley (1747). It is scored for unison mixed choir and piano. After two up-tempo verses, the third verse becomes a joyful syncopated pedal point to celebrate the rousing and uplifting text of a new creation. It is a very accessible anthem for general use.

Come Holy Spirit 
(SATB Choir a cappella)

This is an unaccompanied motet with a translated text derived from a 15th German Antiphon for the Feast of Pentecost, attributed to Martin Luther. The music is homophonic with occasional divisi. The ranges of the lower three parts are all conservative while the top soprano extends to high A. This is an excellent piece to work on a cappella performance practice for the beginning or experienced ensemble. There is a piano reduction in the score.


Choral compositions by James Shrader available at

The Truth from Above
(SATB a cappella)

Herefordshire Carol
Here is the opener for your Lessons and Carols service!

Missa Dominator Deus 
(SATB a cappella, divisi)

From the Gregorian Chant as found in the Liber Usualis


Kyrie performed by the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program Music Majors, David Reimschussel conducting


Gloria performed by the Valdosta State University Chamber Singers, Dr. Paul Neal conducting


Agnus Dei


13 Responses to Choral

  1. jashrader says:

    Hi Anonymous!

    I need your email to send the Introit PDF!

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Anonymous says:


  4. jshrader says:

    Thank you so much Bob! It is such a great honor to have you follow me in that position at FBC. You are doing incredible things! Since I’m retiring as of July 1, perhaps a Cleveland trip is a possibility. I’d love to catch up with folks. Again, thanks for the reply and all the best! -Jim

  5. Robert schneider says:

    We so enjoyed singing your trust in me and On Christmas Night last season and look forward to performing more of your works this year!

  6. jashrader says:

    Ha! Well, I’m not really anonymous on my own site!

  7. Elizabeth Livingston says:

    I really enjoy your composing style. It’s not one that I’m used to and it’s really cool to hear.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you so much! Please pass on this site to your friends who might be interested in my choral music. I have some free introits available if you know any directors who might be interested. Just have them ask for an introit and leave their name and email in the comment/reply box and I’ll send a pdf copy that can be duplicated. Again, thanks for the reply and Cheers! -JAS

  8. Ann Russell says:

    Good day!
    I am a good friend of your brother Jeff. Thanks to his sharing of your work on FaceBook, I’ve enjoyed the afternoon listening to your choral pieces while at work. Absolutely GORGEOUS!! I haven’t been apart of a choir since high school, but had an amazing teacher who exposed us to so many beautiful pieces – chants and religious pieces were typically my favorite. My eldest son sang in his high school chamber choir and had the opportunity to perform in the Old North Church in Boston. One of my favorite pieces his group sang was “I Knew You Before You Were Born”. Today, I fell in love with Balulalow, truly a lullaby fit for a King and In the Bleak Midwinter – gives visions of transparent angel choirs filling the crisp & silent midnight winter sky! I’ll be sure to thank Jeff for “hookin’ a girl up!” It was truly an impressive and awe-inspiring experience this afternoon! You are truly creatively blessed!

    • jshrader says:


      Thank you. I am humbled by your kind words. Please steer others to my site. Both Balulalow and In the Bleak Midwinter will be released in September on a Holiday CD on the Navona label. This will be through Naxos and will also be available on Spotify. Now that I am retired, I would like more people, especially choir directors, to be aware of my music. It would be great if choirs could perform these pieces for their congregations. Again, thank you (and Jeff!) so much! – JAS

  9. Jeff shrader says:

    I love it ! It is haunting, and minor. I love minor key stuff. Sounds like it should be on a Sirus XM Christmas channel ! Good job bro !

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