These Christmas pieces are arranged in order of difficulty, easiest first. Most of them are available at MusicSpoke.
Rough guide to difficulty: “easy” pieces can be learnt by ear, suitable for beginners, simple rhythms, few accidentals. “Medium” will be approachable for any auditioned choir and for some unauditioned groups; might include some key changes or discords. “Hard” pieces are more suitable for groups where everyone can read music fairly well.
Welcome Carol (unison voices, with piano and/or guitar)
A simple, gorgeous carol, showing how Jesus and his family gave welcome to strangers, were welcomed as refugees, and how we should do the same. Creative Commons licensed as part of #choirsagainstracism.
Difficulty level: very easy. Could be learned in a few minutes by ear. Piano part is slightly trickier.
Version with piano accompaniment, 2 pages
Version with tune and guitar chords only, 1 page
Hear a recording by John Thomson and his young choir from Inverness!
Hush My Dear – SATB choir, easy, 2′. Lyrics are a Christmas carol (lullaby for the Christ Child) adapted from Isaac Watts. Single copies 50p, PDF £15 (£10 for ABCD members). In 2018, this was sung by choirs in Edinburgh, the Cairngorms, Kettering and Finedon, and at least 8 more choirs will be singing it at Christmas 2019. The University of Hull Chapel Choir made the recording below:
Good King Wenceslas, arranged for three-part choir (soprano, alto, and bass/baritone), published by NoteNova. Hear a recording from the Mackintosh Choir, Glasgow. Moderate difficulty, 2’30”. Text in English. Order copies from the NoteNova website.
We Three Kings (arrangement), published by NoteNova – for SATB choir, medium difficulty, 2’30”.
In The Bleak Midwinter (a new setting, not an arrangement), published by NoteNova – for SATB choir, fairly easy, 4′. SMezABar version also available. Hear Glasgow University Madrigirls (SMezABar version) – or watch the Edinburgh Singers perform it (SATB version). Please order this piece from NoteNova – click here to place an order.
A New Year Carol – SATB with a few bars of soprano divisi. Would make a good closer or encore for a concert near Christmas, or (ideally!) for a concert around the start of the year. Download a sample score and hear an audio demo. Order from MusicSpoke.
NEW! Anna, Surprised – for SATB choir with some divisi, a new piece for Candlemas but could also be sung at Christmas.
Balulalow – choir only version or with a piano reduction. For SATB choir with soprano and baritone soli, fairly easy, 6′. Text in Scots – a pronunciation guide is provided. Hear a recording. Purchase from MusicSpoke.
Wimbledon Choral Society commissioned “Adeste Fideles” in 2016, and gave the premiere in St Paul’s Southfields, London; they’ll be performing the piece again at Christmas 2018. See the score here (it’s for SSAATBB and organ, could be rearranged on request). Order from MusicSpoke. Listen below!
O Clavis David – for SSAATTBB (could be done by 8 soloists, but would work much better with a larger choir). Quite challenging but rewarding. A setting of one of the O Antiphons. Commissioned by the Quodlibet Chorale and premiered in Edinburgh, November 2015 (alongside settings by Gjeilo, Esenvalds, MacMillan, Rubbra and Lukaszewski). Purchase from MusicSpoke.
Videntes Stellam for SSATTB or AATTBB choir, moderate difficulty, 3′. Version with piano reduction also available for perusal. Contact me for enquiries – happy to provide free copies in exchange for a recording.