Christmas Carols.. no, it's not too soon!

Before anyone has heart-failure and bellows at me that it is “far too soon”… please… I need your help. Time is flying by…way too fast. :anguished:

Every year we sing carols, lustily, in French and English…great time had by all… BUT… I try to change things a little each year and now I am running out of ideas.

So… I’m looking for new Carols/Christmas music/songs. Do you have a favourite Carol… and favourite performer of same…???

It takes time to get the whole thing organized… and I could do with some inspiration… please…:blush:

We normally have roughly 5 French and 5 English with a musical interlude somewhere to let us catch our breath…

Last year’s song sheet:

Petit Papa Noél ; The First Nowell; Vive le Vent; Twelve Days of Christmas; (Amazing Grace - Pipes and Drums) ; Les Anges dans nos Campagnes ;
God Rest Ye Merry ; Glory Alléluia ; O Come All Ye Faithful ; Hark the Herald ; Il Est Né .

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Adam lay y-bounden, the holly and the ivy, the apple tree carol, in the bleak midwinter, we three kings, infant holy infant lowly, es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen, Britten’s ceremony of carols (ok maybe not easy to sing but I do love them esp this little babe/so few days old).

See any recording of King’s College Cambridge for inspiration.
Before the holidays and the 9 lessons and carols that goes out on Christmas Eve there is the college carol service where there is lots of ott singing by choir and everyone else and it is totally and utterly marvellous.

Thanks…I’ll take a look…

I have to check them out very carefully as our Church has amazing acoustics/echoes…and if the singers or the music is too high (descant) the result makes everyone cringe…:wink:

It’s been 14 years now and trying to ring the changes yet include some of the favourites… is a difficult balance…but there are certainly some in your listing that we’ve not tried.

Adam lay y-bounden would work brilliantly somewhere with amazing acoustics. The ATC might be a bit squeaky. Angels from the realms of glory is nice too. And in dulci jubilo. La legende de saint Nicolas is good. Do you do close harmony?

There’s a marvellous book of 100 carols for choirs with the music and the lyrics. Possibly OUP.

Ha ha. Véronique… we are certainly no choir…

This is just a group of friends/neighbours, along with any visitors they happen to have… we sing for the pleasure of it… (and for the grog which follows).

I’ve worked my way through all the usual “Songs of Praise - Christmas Specials”…plus Les Petits Chanteurs A La Crois Du Bois, Tino Rossi and Jack Lantier…everyone knows and loves them…but I really feel in need of something different this year…

Maybe I’ll just go back to square one…

It can’t be “too soon”, I had to go to our ‘big town’ on Tuesday and Action has Santa Claus’ and other yuletide decorations alongside their Haloween masks ! :wink: Good luck with your carols, I will ask my French friends if they have any favourites.


Thanks Ann… all ideas welcome… I have to track down the cd’s…decide on the best version, then get the words together…

I cannot even use a standard Lyrics sheet, as nearly every singer/group does a slight variation of even the most well-known carol/song… and my folk get flummoxed when the words on the sheet do not match those echoing over their heads…:thinking:

The best source of carols for Christmas are the Carols For Choirs from Oxford University press.
I have been conducting choirs for many years now and the annual Christmas Carol Concert was always difficult to find new ideas. A conductor from Cambridge used the rule 6 carols for audience, 6 “Christmas porn” e.g. Silent Night, away in a manger etc and that left 12 to find each year.
My choir here do not like singing in English and prefer me to find French carols. For these I researched on the internet and found many places where the music was free or inexpensive. It was more difficult to find carols in four parts but I have extensive lists so if you wish to discuss, please let me know.

@Chris_Knox-Johnston … I should explain… we play cd’s and everyone sings along…as best they can…purely for the pleasure of the moment…gets Christmas in our village off to a great start…

Year on year, we get requests across the board… some years have us listening (if not always singing) to everything from Russian choirs to Irish Rovers :heart_eyes:

Minuit Chrétiens /O Holy Night… is glorious with Pavarotti singing verses in both languages …

Vive le Vent swiftly followed by 12 Days of Christmas (The Spinners) has folk of every nation falling back into their seats, laughing and exhausted…

We have gradually brought in more English ones as our French friends demand that we do so…and nowadays it is about 50/50 but we always start and finish in French… :grin:

That is the one I have, my daughters and I (so that is 6 of us) and anyone we can persuade into joining in are working our way through it, great fun!

There are three original Carols for Choirs from OUP, books 1,2, & 3. There is also one Carols for Choirs 4 for upper voices only.

Great stuff in all of them

There is a cool music lending library (lends internationally, still, I believe) called Bagaduce Music Lending Library. Located in Blue Hill, Maine. Has about a quarter-million items. Provides scores for chorale groups, choirs, etcetera.

You might ask them for suggestions for carols.

Mine is the fairly old Willcocks and Rutter 100 carols for choirs.

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree. I first heRd this at my daughter’s school carol concert a d it has remained a favourite ever since.
It has a beautiful tine and is easy to sing.

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Well, time is flying by and during the chaos of organizing a funeral for Wednesday and preparing for Armistice Day… I’ve been propositioned…:grin:

calm down, nothing suacy…:wink:. just a request to have some Occitan carols included this year…if possible.

Never one to duck a challenge… I’ve managed to find a singer… now just need to get the words printed so we can all have a go (or at least follow the verses).

Minuit Chrétiens/Oh Holy Night in French and English

Isn’t Les Anges dans nos Campagnes the same as Angels from the Realms of Glory? So French/English too? May be wrong cos I’m not very good on French carols. But after I forget how many years in a church choir I’m pretty hot on English carols! Except anything after about 1960!

On the same Anglo/Français theme Silent Night/Douce Nuit. You could sing one verse in English and the next in French.

@terry Terry… I think it is a little soon to try each verse in the other language… we all love Minuit Chrétiens as this comes with 2 distinct sections…

We’ve only been doing this for 14 years… give us just a little longer, please… some of us are slow learners…:grin:

How they will react to my throwing some Occitan into the mix…is anyone’s guess… I reckon they will be really earning their glass of Christmas Cheer this year…:grin:

I’ve just learned that our proposed carol-singing session on Christmas Eve … is now considered as a manifestation, thus requiring Police security clearance…and Insurance cover (I presume our Household Policy will do…)

Seems a bit over the top for a one-hour friendly get together of neighbours and friends… but we’ll go with the flow…

At least the powers-that-be are waiving the newly-proposed 150 euro fee for using our village church…

After 14 years of doing this quite calmly, without any fuss… I am a little alarmed at the bureaucracy now being thrust upon us…we shall just have to wait and see how things pan out.

By the time Christmas Eve arrives… my ho, ho, ho… may be wearing a bit thin…:face_with_raised_eyebrow: