Jubilate Music Group is the culmination of many years of various providential 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 sum total is Jubilate Music Group, an eclectic stylistic blend of sacred and secular choral, vocal, handbell, and instrumental publications for adults and children. As a result of the consolidation and acquisitions described below, Jubilate Music Group also contains the sacred compositions from the historic Belwin-Mills and Gordon V. Thompson catalogs plus the entire Good Life Productions catalog. 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."
Alfred Sacred was founded in 1989 when Morton 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 and Mary Kay Beall, William Cutter, Benjamin Harlan, Jerry Weseley Harris, Mark Hayes, Hal Hopson, Steve Kupferschmid, David Lantz, Michael Larkin, 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.
The 1990’s were a great period of expansion in church music publishing and Alfred Sacred rode the wave of that increase. Its first publications were modeled after Alfred Music’s highly successful “educational series” approach to its piano publications. The result was a catalog that served the comprehensive music ministry, with four levels of octavos for choirs “from the cradle to the grave.” This was a rather novel approach to church choral music within the mainline church publishing industry. Those “graded” publications are still alive in the catalog today.
Jubilate Music was founded in 2009 by music publisher/producer/writer Mark Cabaniss during his tenure as head of Word Music. Early in his time at Word, Mark saw the need for Word to reach out to the traditional, mainline church in addition to its offerings for the contemporary church. Accordingly, he founded Jubilate Music 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.”
The first release group of Jubilate Music publications contained an inaugural composition from Allen Pote appropriately titled “Jubilate Deo.”
Others 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, David Lantz III, 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 (along with Alfred's Ron Manus and former CMO Andrew Surmani) to join Alfred Music to lead their church music publishing efforts in 2013. Having founded the Jubilate catalog, Cabaniss had a keen desire to bring it with him to Alfred. Therefore, an agreement was reached between Word Music (then owned by Warner Music Group) 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 1870s, initially founded by H. William Gray as the American distributor for Novello. In 1906, in addition to maintaining the Novello distributorship for many more years, H.W. Gray began its own publishing schedule of new works (eventually parting ways with Novello).
Leo Sowerby had a long and distinguished relationship with H.W. Gray creating new works, including the publication of his Canticle of the Sun, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1946.
Also in the 1940s, H.W. Gray commissioned several late works of Arnold Schoenberg. 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 Gloria, Penderecki’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.
Alfred Music Acquires Warner Brothers Publications
In 2005, Alfred Music acquired the Warner Bros. Publications catalog, which included the H.W. Gray, Good Life Productions, 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.
The Sale and New Beginnings
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, Ron Manus, Andrew Surmani and then Alfred COO Steven Raft) afforded 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, and H.W. Gray. 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 Helvey, Jean 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.
Thanks to the large catalog of tens of 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.”