As the director of your church’s choir, choosing appropriate repertoire for each service is central to your spiritual mission, and yet finding singable selections that will resonate with both choir members and the larger congregation can be difficult. After all, no matter your denomination or style of worship, each season and observance within the liturgical year calls for music with different texts, themes, and moods. In addition, we are sympathetic to the added challenges that many churches are facing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: working with a smaller choir or limited voicings may make selecting music especially challenging.
J.W. Pepper’s Worship Planning Tool is a powerful search engine designed to lessen this burden. This unique and free resource allows users to go straight to the music that suits their groups by filtering through the thousands of sacred selections available on our website. You can discover fresh repertoire for any and all observances by indicating either a section of scripture or a lectionary, year, and season within the liturgical calendar.
Access the worship planning tool by first navigating to our Church Music page (“Church” in the drop-down menu under “Departments”) and then selecting “Worship Planning” under “Director Resources.” This menu contains links to several other lists of helpful products that we offer for church music directors, including resources to guide your music ministry and conducting practice. Alternatively, you may select “Worship Planning” under the “Services” menu on our website or go to jwpepper.com/planning.
On the page, you’ll see two options: “Scripture Search” and “Liturgical Calendar Search.”
Within the Scripture Search, you’ll see the option to select a book of the Bible and a chapter. Depending on how specific you’d like to be, you can even enter a verse—an optional feature that is especially useful for more liturgical worship styles. Repertoire that appears in the search results will contain references to the scripture indicated, either by directly quoting it or paraphrasing it within the text.
Liturgical Calendar Search
Within the Liturgical Calendar Search, you’ll see drop-down options for searching either the Revised Common Lectionary or Roman Catholic Lectionary; year A, B, or C within the three-year cycle of scripture readings; and seasons from Advent through Ordinary Time. As of March 2023, you can plan as far ahead as the fall of 2025!
After clicking “search,” you’ll see options for specific observances within that season. For example, searching for “Holy Week” brings up lists of repertoire appropriate for each of the seven days that precede Easter, from Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday.
Filtering Your Search Results
After running either a Scripture Search or a Liturgical Calendar Search, you’ll see a number in parentheses next to each result. That number corresponds to the number of titles we have available that fit within your specified search parameters.
Once you’ve reached the list that fits your desired scripture or season, select titles individually to see details or use the columns on the left-hand side of the page to further refine your search.
Filtering by Department
The departments you’re most likely to see are “choral” and “vocal.” We use the term “choral” to describe titles that are written for an ensemble or full choir. We use the term “vocal” to describe music for solo singers, duets, and trios.
Filtering by Pepper® Exclusives
The next category which you can filter by, “Pepper® Exclusives,” indicates proprietary tools and services that we maintain to make selecting and accessing music as easy as possible.
Each year, our experienced editors review all the new music from hundreds of publishers and designate only the very best as Editors’ Choice. The red Editors’ Choice check mark indicates that our editors have identified a title as being among the highest quality sacred repertoire.
Titles that have been among our top sellers for five or more consecutive years earn the blue Basic Library star. When you shop from our Basic Library, you’re selecting from works that have proven successful for many of your fellow faith leaders.
When you need music on short notice, ePrint digital sheet music can be an ideal solution! Once you’ve purchased an ePrint title, it is available to print on your own or access on any mobile device through our free ePrintGo app.
MINTS (Music Insight Technology System)
MINTS provides an overview of the essential building blocks of a piece of music: range, instrumentation, and tessitura. This service allows you to get a sense of whether a given title is appropriate for your choir without spending valuable time studying the score.
Continuing down the left-hand side of the page, you’ll see options to refine your search by category, level of difficulty, voicing, the types of preview tools we have available, and publisher.
The J.W. Pepper team is dedicated to bringing you quality sacred music that helps to make services meaningful. Our website features thousands of titles for all singers and Sundays, and the goal of the Worship Planning tool is to make navigating all the options as simple as possible—so you can devote more energy to your music ministry.