Ronald Staheli was the conductor of BYU’s premiere choir, the University Singers, for thirty years. During that time, his ensemble toured internationally more than a dozen times and recorded dozens of albums. The man knows choirs. Consequently, he should be on every ward and stake choir director’s A-list of arrangers.
Staheli’s version of “Oh, May My Soul Commune with Thee” is the little black dress of hymn arrangements: elegant, timeless, and flattering. The tone of the arrangement embodies that old MTC catch phrase, “quiet dignity.”
Any choir that can sing parts from the hymn book can sing this arrangement. If your choir has confident readers, they could perform this arrangement after one rehearsal. If they are less confident, then it may take one additional rehearsal. If you need to accompany your choir in performance, at all costs, find a way to do so with the organ. The piano’s inescapably percussive sound is at complete odds with the sound of this arrangement. Ronald Staheli’s “Oh, May My Soul Commune with Thee” is a model of artful yet modest hymn arranging. It is elegantly written, simple to sing, and reverent in tone. I cannot recommend it enough.
For specific rehearsal helps, see the full review here.
Reviewer: Joseph Sowa