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Your Favourite Carols


Alan Day
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I had a very lovely experience of playing concertina for my little Grandaughter, aged three, ...

Hello Badad,

 

Brings back memories (about 4 years ago) when I played a duet with my oldest granddaughter. At that time I only had a 20 button G/C Hohner and could easily follow her "tune" that she played on her C harmonica.

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About an hour before I read this thread I had just had a conversation with a friend here at school. He mentioned that because of the attempts to keep school settings secular, many of the old traditional carols are not being taught because of their Christian content. The result is that we seem to be losing many lovely old songs that are part of the tradition of the season.

Looking at the lists in the above posts seems to confirm this. The number of Christmas Carols that I have heard this season has been meager, by comparison, to say the least.

Even the church events that I have attended leaned toward these "new age songs of praise", which I find generic and pretty wishy-washy.

Are we, because of our desire to steer clear of any overt religious message going to lose these beautiful songs entirely?

Fewer and fewer of my students know them. How sad. :(

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The Christmas Carol is alive and kicking on this Scottish Island. The Brass Band make a number of appearances this year (including an impromptu one in a deserted village square because we wer at a loose end!) playing all your old favourites, and a nucleus of four of us are going to meet up at my house this afternoon to run through our plalist for a carol evening at my local pub next week ...

 

Isn't the answer in a multicultural society to encourage everyone to sing their special or sacred songs at their festive seasons, rather than find a one song fits all repertoire?

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Robert, when I interviewed for my current job as elementary music teacher (currently in my 9th year and staying...) I spoke about my role as "culture teacher" and asked if I would be allowed to teach Christmas carols, etc. I was told that as long as I didn't teach that these songs were the "truth" and as long as I balanced them with songs from other cultures and holidays, I was in the clear.

 

The only time I got a parent complaint was when I taught a Chanukah song featuring a menorah, but had not yet at that point in the month gotten to any songs about babies in mangers!

 

I've just finished a week of Chanukah songs, this week I'm launching Christmas carols and the last few days next week will be "kids choice"- and what do they choose? Silent Night, Hark the Herald- (of course, I don't offer them Rudolph and Frosty as choices....)

 

And I always throw in one of the older, modal tunes. Hmm- what shall it be this year?

 

Allison

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Allison

I'm glad to hear your response. It's good to know that the Blanderizing Effect isn't universal. I suppose that each district and building administration sets the tone for how these things are handled. Our recent band and choir concerts (middle school) were a case in point: the choir's songs were "Tin Pan Alley" style Christmas tunes, Chestnuts Roasting, Sleigh ride, etc. The Band got to play the more traditional stuff : Hark the Herald Angels Sing, We Three Kings, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen...

I wonder if the Instrumentalists got to play the "oldies" because of the absence of lyrics?

 

Have you made your choices for this year?

Have a good holiday vacation; I know that you've earned it.

Rob

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Last week, "Make a litte music for Chanukah" by David Eddelman was the "featured song". We also sang, "I have a little dreydle".

 

At an assembly we also sang a locally composed winter solstice song.

 

A ballet school brought "scenes from the Nutcracker" yesterday so I've spent too much time on that ballet to sing much this week.

 

Today I'm introduing "Il est ne, le divin enfant".

 

(Our school usually chooses one country to focus on each year, and this year it's France!)

 

Next week (last 3 days): Twelve Days of Christmas, Children Go Where I Send Thee, Auld Lang Syne. Then: VACATION!!!!! :) :D :lol:

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(Our school usually chooses one country to focus on each year, and this year it's France!)

Which reminded me - is anyone here familiar with any Welsh carols? I play the organ for the Welsh Congregational Chapel here in Birmingham, and every Christmas am struck by how good some of their traditional Christmas music is. My spoken Welsh isn't particularly strong so I can never remember what they're called, unfortunately...

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Every year at Victoria Train Station (London) the brass band of the Salvation Army play traditional carols. There is something about brass bands playing carols that really makes me feel it`s Christmas. Even if I am in a hurry I just have to stop and listen.

Al :)

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I'm jealous, Al. I haven't seen a Salvation Army band playing carols for years. Although, to be fair, there was an SA bell-ringer outside my local grocery store recently who had a little portable stereo playing a really cheesy, awful version of Jingle Bells.

 

:)

Steven

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I'm jealous, Al. I haven't seen a Salvation Army band playing carols for years.

Every year from 1997 to 2002 in Logansport, Indiana I played many nights with the members of my brass quintet for the red kettle. Our tuba player grew up in the SA church and got permission for us to use the music (the SA in the U.S. used to limit who they let use the music). We were not the SA professionals but could play pretty well. We could raise money significantly faster than a bell-ringer, especially on sub-freezing nights. My theory was folks figured that if we could stand to be a little less comfortable maybe they could too, and they would dig into their pockets. This was outside a major chain store where many of these same folks later came out with extravagant and expensive presents the recipients probably didn't even use. I used to leave the French horn at home and use cornet or alto horn instead, they all work for the SA books and easier to keep a smaller horn warm enough to play.

 

One disappointment of being in Massachusetts last December and this year in Pennsylvania is that I've not found fellow players to do this. The SA is always interested to hear from me, but no other players about and I can't quite carry it alone (and no, I'm not up for solo carols on concertina in way below freezing weather). But each year I'll keep looking.

 

So the tradition lives on here and there, Ho ho ho.

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  • 1 month later...

okie this is about as belated a reply as there could be. But xmas carols are a bit of a passion of mine :)

 

I've been playing the tin whistle just over a year now and spent the best part of the last three months of last year learning carols to play on christmas day. Here in scandinavia people dance round the tree and sing - if you've seen bergmans film "fany and alexander" you get the idea. My wife's family tend not to so much dance as sidestep slowly round the tree after 1/2 an hour of trying to get out of it.

 

Couple of years ago I introduced some christmas carols in english to the family without any accomanyment and it was a riot - mostly me getting melodies mixed up.

 

So this time round I bought along my whistles, high d, high c and low d and c.

 

Bear with me I'm getting to the point and back to the topic :P

 

So I played a few danish carols and a few english and made everyone stand still. At the end of each song there was a prize for worst and best singer...

 

At one point they wanted to take a break so I played few a through songs on my own. Up til then silent night had been my favourite on the low whistle, I tend to play a melancholic version. But as I was flipping through the book of carols I had with me I came across "it came upon the midnight clear" and "god rest you merry gentlemen".

 

Ofcourse I knew these carols quite well but I'd never really thought about the music. So whistle wise the three above mentioned are my favourites.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing what if anything I can do with my jackie when it arrives and these three songs will be some of my first attempts.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Which reminded me - is anyone here familiar with any Welsh carols?

 

I have emailed these items to Stuart but I will try attaching them here to share with the rest of you if you are interested.

 

Carol Mai means a May carol, so it will be seasonal in a few months time. Nos Galan has a resemblance to Deck The Halls. the third tune I am sure most people will recognise even if you do not know the Welsh title.

 

- John

 

 

 

 

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  • 16 years later...
  • 4 months later...
On 12/16/2004 at 4:42 AM, Helen said:

I was wondering if there were any Salvation Army bands left....

 

Ken, hope you find people with whom to play.

 

Helen

Hallo Helen a long time no speak ,I hope you are well Al X

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