What’s all this about arranging? What is it anyway?

Musical ‘arranging’ is the art of adapting existing music for performance by an ensemble or forces other than that for which it was originally written. This typically involves adding new ideas as well as reharmonising the source material. I think the best definition I’ve heard of it is ‘arranging is composing with existing material’ (unfortunately I can’t remember where I heard that…answers on a postcard please)

Like many aspects of working in music, arranging is labour intensive and rather invisible work, but it can be very satisfying. As well as arranging new music each month for the various ensembles under my direction, I create bespoke arrangements for commercial clients, such as Australian ensemble The Faraway Eyes, forties harmony trio The Bugle Babes and Gardiner Street Gospel Choir. A selection of my arrangements is published by Seolta Music. My choral arrangement of the Irish song ‘I am stretched on your grave’ was chosen for publication in the Various Voices Irish Songbook in 2014. I also write string arrangements (see Fiddle page)

These are some examples of arrangements in my library:

Gospel /Soul/Motown

 Ain’t no Grave  – In the style of Crooked Still SAT

Amazing Grace-  In the style of Soweto Gospel Choir  SATB. 

All you need is love- The Beatles (version from ‘Love Actually’ soundtrack) SATB + Tenor Soloist 

By the Rivers of Babylon – Soweto Gospel Choir version SATB + Alto + Tenor Soloists

Caravan of Love – The Housemartins SAAB + Tenor Soloist

Can’t Give Up Now – Mary Mary SAT + 2 Alto Soloists

Converted – Alabama 3 SATB + Tenor Soloist

Down in the river to pray- Traditional (O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack) SATB + Alto Soloist

Everybody’s Free- ‘Romeo & Juliet’ Soundtrack  SATB + Alto Soloist

Everything that has breath – Richard Smallwood  SATB + Soprano Soloist

For Once in My Life – Stevie Wonder SATB + Alto or Tenor Soloist

Going to the Chapel – The Dixie Cups SAAB + Tenor Soloist

Great is thy faithfulness  – Thomas Chisholm  SAT + Alto Soloist

Good Religion – Blind Boys of Alabama SATB + Tenor Soloist

He Reigns – Kirk Franklin SATB

Hosanna – Reuben Morgan SATB + Alto Soloist 

How Great Thou Art – Stuart Hine SATB + Alto Soloist

I wanna hold your hand – The Beatles SATB + Tenor Soloist

I Love the Lord – Richard Smallwood SATB

Let it Be – The Beatles  SATB + Tenor Soloist

Lean on Me- Bill Withers SAAB + Tenor Soloist

Makes me wanna pray – Christina Aguilera SATB + Soprano Soloist

Movin’ on Up- Primal Scream  SATB + Alto Soloist

My Life, My Love, My All – Kirk Franklin SAATB

My Sweet Lord- George Harrison SAAB + Tenor Soloist

Oh Happy Day- Edwin Hawkins SATB + Soprano Soloist

People Get Ready – Curtis Mayfield SAATB

Rain Down – Angie Stone/Eddie Levert  SATB + Soprano + Tenor Soloists

Seteng Sediba – Soweto Gospel Choir SATB + Alto Soloist

Signed Sealed Delivered – Stevie Wonder SATB + Alto (or high Tenor)Soloist

Solid Rock – Bob Dylan SATB + Alto Soloist

Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for – U2/New Voices of Freedom SATB

Swing Low Sweet Chariot -Traditional SATB  

Table in the Wilderness – Soul Mission SATB + Alto Soloist

This Little Light of Mine – Traditional SAATB

Trouble of this World –traditional  SATB

You got the love – Candi Statton SATB + Soprano Soloist

Your love keeps lifting me higher- Jackie Wilson SAAB + Tenor Soloist

You’re all I need to get by- Aretha Franklin SATB + Soprano Soloist


Mass parts:

Gloria –traditional Zambian praise tune adapted by Cathy McEvoy SATB + Alto Soloist

Hallelujah – Cathy McEvoy SATB + Alto Soloist

Holy Holy – Cathy McEvoy SATB + Alto Soloist  


The Book of Love – The Magnetic Fields/In the Style of Peter Gabriel  SAAT + Baritone Soloist

Caledonia  – Dougie MacLean SATB + Soprano Soloist

Chariots Rise – Lizzie West  SATB + Alto Soloist

Green Garden – Laura Mvula SATB + Alto Soloist

How Long Will I Love You – Mike Scott SATB + Alto Soloist

I Choose You – Sara Bareilles SATB + Alto Soloist

Nothing’s Real But Love – Rebecca Ferguson SATB + Soprano Soloist

Only Girl in the World – Rihanna/In the style of The Overtones SAAT + Baritone Soloist

One Day Like This –Elbow  SAAB + Tenor Soloist  

I Say a Little Prayer for You – Burt Bacarach SATB + Soprano Soloist

Somewhere  Over the Rainbow –In the style of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole  SATB + Soprano Soloist

Use Somebody – Kings of Leon SATB

The Winter Song –  SATB + Alto Soloist

With or Without You – U2/In the style of Scala & Kolacny Bros. SAATB

Wouldn’t it Be Nice – The Beach Boys SATB + Alto Soloist

Miscellaneous :

I Am Stretched on your Grave – Philip King SATB

Santa Claus is Coming to Town – barbershop style SAATB

Whispering Hope – Septimus Winner SATB

If you’d like sheet music for any of these arrangements just drop me an email – I operate a ‘suggested donation’ system. There is a formal fee structure for bespoke arrangements, just drop me a line for rates.

See also –

  1. Mats Tjernberg says:

    Would you be so kind to send me your arrangement of My Sweet Lord? Kind regards, Mats, Sweden.

  2. Jill Abramson says:

    Hello Cathy, what a wonderful web site. What a diverse set of talents you have! I am desperately looking for an arrangement of the Gospel Version”of U2s “I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For” for a concert I am doing. I see you have done an arrangement of it. How might I purchase a copy?
    with thanks,

  3. What a great site! I am looking for an arrangement of Love Me Still….Chaka Kahn for Piano/Bass duo. I can accept Finale files if you are able…no problem with a donation. Love to support my fellows. Thx!

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