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MacMillan, James: The Halie Speerit's Dauncers (The Holy Spirit's Dancers) (1996) 6'
for unison childrens choir and piano, or voice and piano

Music Text

James McGonigal (Scots)

Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere

Corpus Christi Primary School, Glasgow
Children of Corpus Christi Primary School / James MacMillan

Composer's Notes

This is a setting for children’s unison choir and piano of a Scots language poem by James McGonigal, which in turn is based on an earlier traditional rhyme. It was written as a gift for a group of children preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation at Corpus Christi Primary School in Glasgow (attended, at one time by my own three children). The text introduces The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, here presented as dancers at a country fair. The music is fashioned appropriately, attempting to capture the rumbustious folksiness of this joyous but mystical vision.

James MacMillan

Reproduction Rights
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer

Repertoire Note

Choral level of difficulty: 1 (5 greatest)

This is another work that demonstrates James MacMillan’s commitment to being ‘useful’ as a composer. Not for him the ‘ivory tower’ from which his music would be destined just for professional choirs and orchestras. MacMillan’s music is to be sung by church choirs, choral societies, yes, professional forces, but also, as here, children’s voices in unison.

A wonderful Scottish poem (so Scottish, most English-language performers would regard it as foreign!) by James McGonigal is given a romping dance-like treatment by MacMillan. It’s irresistible and it’s huge fun for the children.

Repertoire Note by Paul Spicer

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