Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Carols for Fun and Fundraising, 51-75

This is Part 3 of 5 in a series. Why does this list start with the carols I remember learning as a tot? By and large, if you grew up reasonably close to the place where you are singing carols to raise money, the ones you learned earliest in life are likely to be the most familiar to the most people in the audience. Familiar is good. People like to listen to a new song they've not heard before, but an old song that stirs up memories of Christmas Past is more likely to motivate more people to donate to the missions that raise money before midwinter. Fortunately, although these are songs I learned as a teenager, we're still comfortably in the category of Christmas Classics that have served me well as fundraising material.

51. What Child Is This:


There's also a New Year version...


52. The Coventry Carol: (I've never heard the so-called "Appalachian version.")


53. The Star: Web searches for the first line "Long ago on a clear winter's night" are as useless as web searches for "star" as a title. Anyway the words and tune are in the Oxford Book of Carols.

54. Rocking (Little Jesus Sweetly Sleep): The editor of the Oxford Book wasn't the only person who's translated this European carol into English. The version I learned at school began "Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, softly sleep, rest in comfort, slumber deep."


55. Veni Emanuel: Wikipedia compares the various English translations. There are, of course, other translations; I learned a Spanish version of this song.



56. Wondrous Love:


57. Christ Child Lullaby: Possibly the longest Christmas carol on record...apparently no two English versions are quite alike. (The version I've sung is a "filk"--a "fictional folk" song written to accompany a story--and does not appear in web searches. The only words I learned with the tune, when I learned the tune from a vintage Malcolm Dalglish record, are "Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, unworthy I to tend to Thee.")





58. We Three Kings:


59. I Wonder as I Wander:


60. Sleep Jesus Rest Your Head: The words I learned aren't quite the same words John Jacob Niles collected, but close enough.

Christmas with the Trapp Familiy


61. Joy Shall Be Yours in the Morning: The words from The Wind in the Willows have been set to different tunes, some of which are available for purchase online.


62. In the Bleak Midwinter:


63. I Heard the Bells:


There is a politically correct verse, which meanders into a different tune and ought to begin a different song but, so far as I know, doesn't:

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And ring out loudly from the steeple,
Peace on earth, good will to people."

64. Sing Hallelujah to the Wonderful Counsellor: If I hadn't had vivid memories of this LP, I would never have found it online. The first verse begins with "For unto us a child is born, a son is given." The chorus begins with "Sing hallelujah to the Wonderful Counsellor." The title in John Michael Talbot's songbook was "Anthem." Hopeless for web searching. Anyway, it's not a traditional carol, but it sounds as if it might be one, and it's often worked for me.

The Painter

65. Handel's Messiah: Only the first part of the Messiah is technically meant to relate to Christmas, but since the whole oratorio or selections from it have so often been performed at Christmas, any part of the Messiah you can sing seems to qualify as traditional Christmas music.

66. Love Came Down at Christmas:


67. Cherry Tree Carol:


68. Brightest and Best: The official version was recorded by Jean Ritchie. An acceptable tribute was recorded by John McCutcheon. However, the song has been traced back even further than their careers.

Winter Solstice


69. Ein Kind Geborn zu Bethlehem: Somewhat obscure in the United States, this used to be one of the most popular carols in Europe. I first learned it in German, from which it translates so easily that, even before I found the published English version in the Oxford Book of Carols, I'd translated it into English for myself. Versions in most of the western European languages have been documented. Wikipedia gives the full-length original Latin carol. (Yes, "de.wikipedia" means the article is mostly written in German; scroll down to see the carol in Latin, with German translations and additions.)


Yet another English translation is online at


70. In Dulci Jubilo: At least six different complete versions exist. Wikipedia introduces and compares:


The Neale translation is the one I've learned. Some newer hymnals tweak the refrain to "Good Christians, now rejoice."


71. St. Stephen: I learned this one from the Oxford Book of Carols. Like "Good King Wenceslas," it's actually about St. Stephen's Day, which was traditionally observed on the twenty-sixth of December, later rededicated as "Boxing Day" (when people box up unwanted prezzies, or things they wore last year and are replacing with this year's prezzies, for re-gifting). All we really know about the occasion of the first Christian martyrdom is that the men who murdered Stephen were wearing coats, which they took off and handed to a young student who was later known as St. Paul--killing a healthy human by throwing stones at him can be sweaty work. And yes, these guys were Jewish. Bing refuses to search for the lyrics, although they're at sites Bing recognizes, probably for fear that some snowflake out there might imagine "the faithless Jews" to be a slur on all Jews. Considering that at that point in the history of the Church Christians were a Jewish sect, that seems quite a lot like confusing Harris and Klebold with "the Columbine School boys." I favor a shorter version that doesn't take so much time to describe the illiberal audience who attacked Stephen...it omits the first four lines of verse 2 and the last four lines of verse 4, and also the last four lines of verse 6 and the first four of verse 7, of the full-length carol linked below.

"'But O,' said he, 'you wicked men,
Which of the prophets all
Did not your fathers persecute
And keep in woeful thrall?'
And when they heard him say these words,
Upon him they all ran,
And then without the city gates
They stoned this holy man."


72. Sweet Little Jesus Boy: This is a folk song that no two people sing the same way. The version I learned (in a church choir), and sing, is not quite the same as either of the versions linked below but it's recognizable as the same song.



73. The Holly and the Ivy:


74. Of the Father's Love Begotten:


75. Fum Fum Fum: