Publisher Focus: Jubilate Music Group

Guest post by Morgan Roberts, Director of Production, Sales & Marketing for Jubilate Music Group

Jubilate Music Group is the culmination of many years of various developments in the lives of several individuals and the music print industry. These developments led to the consolidation of three separate and distinct music publishing catalogs, each with its own individual history: Alfred Sacred, Jubilate Music, and H.W. Gray. The result is Jubilate Music Group, an eclectic stylistic blend of sacred and secular choral, vocal, handbell, and instrumental publications for adults and children.

Alfred Sacred – Jubilate Music – H.W. Gray

As a result of the consolidation and acquisitions described in this blog, Jubilate Music Group also contains the sacred compositions from the historic Belwin-Mills and Gordon V. Thompson catalogs plus the entire Brodt Music Publications and Good Life Publications catalogs. From Handel, Hopson, and Hayes to Puccini, Penderecki, and Purifoy…Jubilate Music Group catalogs contain a combined 150+ years of rich music publishing history. When considered retrospectively, the changes and developments that came together to ultimately create Jubilate Music Group make its birth true to the meaning of its name:

“A song of joy and triumph”

Morton Manus

Alfred Sacred was founded in 1989 when Morton (“Morty”) Manus (late President of Alfred Music) decided to expand the Alfred School Choral Catalog. He first hired well-known school editors/writers Sally Albrecht and Jay Althouse to re-imagine the Alfred school choral catalog. Several months later, he asked well-known editor/writer Jean Anne Shafferman to create Alfred’s first church choral catalog. Writers in the catalog’s early years included Don Besig and Nancy Price, Eugene Butler, John Carter, Mary Kay Beall, William Cutter, Benjamin Harlan, Jerry Weseley Harris, Mark Hayes, Hal Hopson, David Lantz, Robert Lau, John Leavitt, Patrick Liebergen, Joseph Martin, Anna Laura Page, Dave and Jean Perry, Ruth Elaine Schram, Carl Strommen, Douglas Wagner, and many more.

Mark Cabaniss

Jubilate Music was founded in 2009 by music publisher/producer/writer Mark Cabaniss as an imprint of Word Music.  The first Jubilate Music publications were released in May 2010 through summer reading sessions and its first national promotion, introducing Jubilate as “A New Voice in Sacred Music.”  Writers represented in the premiere release from Jubilate were renowned composers Joel Raney, Mary McDonald, Ruth Elaine Schram, Lee Dengler, Joseph Martin, John Leavitt, Hal Hopson, Tom Fettke, Benjamin Harlan, David Schwoebel, Tina English, and Cindy Berry. The public responded enthusiastically to the offerings from these top-notch composers.

After having met and become close friends and associates of Morton and Iris Manus (the legendary early leaders of Alfred Music), Cabaniss was invited by the Manuses to join Alfred Music to lead their church music publishing efforts in 2013. Having founded the Jubilate catalog, Cabaniss had a desire to bring it with him to Alfred. Therefore, an agreement was reached between Word Music and Cabaniss to purchase Jubilate. The transaction was completed in October 2013 and Jubilate moved to Alfred, joining the Alfred Sacred catalog to comprise Alfred Music’s church publishing division.

H.W. Gray is by far the oldest publishing catalog in Jubilate Music Group, giving the Company its deepest roots in the music publishing industry. H.W. Gray had its beginnings in the 1890s, initially founded by H. Willard Gray as the American distributor in New York City for Novello & Company of London, England. In 1906, H. Willard Gray, then branch manager, began his own publishing schedule of new works in addition to maintaining the Novello distributorship for many more years (eventually parting ways with Novello). 

H.W. Gray includes music by leading composers such as Howard Helvey, Rene Clausen, Virgil Thomson, Harold Friedell, Jane Marshall, Healey Willan, Daniel Gawthrop, Eleanor Daley, Ryan Murphy, and more. Classical and contemporary compositions that have become standards in choral literature are also found in the HWG catalog, such as Puccini’s Messa Di GloriaPenderecki’s Stabat Mater, and modern choral classics including Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether (Harold Friedell/Percy Dearmer), My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (Virgil Thomson), Awake My Heart (Jane Marshall) and more.

In 2005, Alfred Music acquired the Warner Bros. Publications catalog, which included the H.W. Gray, Good Life Publications, Gordon V. Thompson, and other publishing catalogs. This was a significant development for the future Jubilate Music Group (although Jubilate Music and Jubilate Music Group were still several years away from being established) since the H.W. Gray, Good Life, and Thompson catalogs would eventually become a part of Jubilate Music Group. As the winds of change continued to blow through the music publishing business, and following the death of Morton Manus, Alfred Music joined the corporate portfolio of Peaksware Holdings, LLC in 2016.

These changes (along with the cooperation and blessing of Peaksware) offered Mark Cabaniss the opportunity to fulfill his career-long dream of owning a music publisher and purchase the sacred publishing division of Alfred Music, which included Alfred Sacred, Jubilate Music, H.W. Gray, and Good Life Productions. Accordingly, Jubilate Music Group, LLC opened its doors on January 1, 2016. Based in Brentwood, Tennessee (a Nashville suburb), the Jubilate Music Group editorial/sales/promotion/administration team includes Morgan Roberts, Sondra Tucker, Lee Dengler, Howard HelveyJean Anne Shafferman, Sharron Lyon, Carol Vincent, and Matthew Thomas.

In March 2019, Jubilate Music Group acquired the Brodt Music Publications catalog, adding yet more quality choral and instrumental publications to its family of music publishing catalogs.  In July 2020, a new imprint was added to the Jubilate family, SpiritSong.

Jubilate has responded to Covid-19 with several initiatives: VoxTrax at-home digital rehearsal tracks virtual rehearsal and performance tutorials, and a new chamber handbell series featuring limited ringers and other safety features.

With thousands of copyrights contained in Jubilate Music Group, Jubilate is one of the largest sacred music print publishing houses in the United States. Through partnerships with international sub-publishers, Jubilate Music Group compositions are performed worldwide. We are proud to carry forth the substantial legacies of the catalogs we contain, while publishing exciting new works, offering a large body of creative work by some of the finest composers of choral and instrumental music.

“We take our mission seriously, and pledge to carry it out day after day, and year after year:

‘To create and provide innovative and quality music resources with a Christian Ethos; to meet the needs of our customers through thoughtful, caring, and efficient service; to champion the creative efforts of our contributors and to faithfully continue our tradition of excellence.’ ”

– Mark Cabaniss, President/CEO of Jubilate

Cabaniss adds, “We’re thankful and honored to be a part of the exciting, fulfilling, and vital process of music publishing, and look to bright days ahead when music making will resume full force once again.”

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