In case you haven’t noticed, “Tis the season to be jolly” and footnoteMaven has sent out the call for everyone to blog about their favourite Christmas Carol.
Many years ago, I used to sing alto in my work’s choir. I was never a great singer and I couldn’t read music, but in a largish choir, it wasn’t so noticeable and I was pretty good at pitching my voice to the singer next to me.
We managed to get enough men to be able to have the full quartet of voices – alto, soprano, tenor and bass. The sopranos, of course, were the stars and the altos were the workhorses but without us, the sopranos would never have sounded so wonderful. 😉
The choir gave two performances a year. One, of course, being at Christmas. The choir introduced me to a number of Christmas songs that I’d never heard before.
My favourite Christmas carol has to be Carol of the Bells.
Wikipedia says that the original was composed in 1914 by a Ukrainian composer, Mykola Leontovych and was based on a Ukrainian folk chant called “Shchedryk”. The song evolved into a Christmas carol in 1936 when Peter J. Wilhousky rearranged the melody and wrote new lyrics which begin with “Hark! How the bells”. These new lyrics revolve around ringing bells because the music reminded Wilhousky of hand bells. There are other versions with different lyrics so you may know the same music under the name Ring, Christmas Bells.
Since the lyrics are still under copyright, though the music is not, I won’t print the lyrics but you can read them here.
Carol of the Bells is my favourite mainly because it is incredibly satisfying to sing as part of a choir. It was originally designed to be sung as a four part harmony. When all those parts come together and harmonise, it raises the hairs on the back of my neck and gives me tingles down my spine. Singing this carol fills me with joy and Christmas Spirit.
I’ve found a version of this carol which gives me the same feeling listening to the song as it gave me while singing it. This version is, of course, much much better than our amateur choir attempts. I hope you’ll like the carol as much as I do.
Without further ado, here is the link to:
— as sung beautifully by Libera, an all boys choir.
Wishing everyone a bright and beautiful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. (1911). Merry Christmas. Retrieved on 20 December 2017 from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-6737-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. (ca. 190-). A Merry Christmas. Retrieved on 20 December 2017 from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-663e-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. Christmas greetings. Retrieved on 20 December 2017 from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-5a34-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. Merry Christmas. Retrieved on 20 December 2017 from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-69ae-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99