Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Carols for Fun and Fundraising, 76-100

This is Part 4 of 5 in a series. These are mostly songs I learned as an adult, several in Michigan--I was astonished by how different the list of "favorite Christmas songs everybody knows" was up there. Some of these are classic nostalgic favorites in some places, but they're relatively less known in my part of the world, thus somewhat less effective for fundraising purposes. They fit into the right mood, and some people love them, but they're also likely to activate the "new song" parts of people's brains rather than the "Christmas nostalgia" parts. Some people will donate, and some people won't, regardless of what you sing while fundraising. More people seem to donate more money when the "Christmas nostalgia" brain circuits are active. So, during a day of fundraising I wouldn't necessarily sing these; it'd depend on how much time was taken up by interacting with people, taking requests, etc. Nevertheless they're good songs, and some people request them.

76. O Sanctissima: If there's a time when Protestants should sing about Mother Mary, Christmas is it. I have no problem with the original Latin words. However, because "Beloved Mother, fearless lady, pray for us" is too close to a Catholic prayer to suit some Protestants, there are alternative lyrics that are strictly about the Christmas holiday itself--which doesn't suit some Protestants, either. If your audience includes particularly contentious Christians you might want to do an instrumental version of this one.

Catholic version:

Protestant version:

77. Huron Carol:

78. Un Flambeau Jeannette Isabella:,_Jeanette,_Isabella

79. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: Bing Crosby's recording of this song was a monster hit. Apparently the song slipped into obscurity in a sort of backlash, because as a teenager I remember not actually hearing it sung but reading a creepy story in which it appears as background music. The story came from this memoir:,_Gentlemen

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

80. Detroit December: This one's still under copyright. John McCutcheon sang it on the "Winter Solstice" album linked previously. Si Kahn also recorded it himself. Si Kahn is better known as a songwriter (especially for McCutcheon) than as a singer, but I agree with McCutcheon that Kahn's renditions of his own songs aren't hard to listen to, at all; he just didn't invest a lot in marketing his records or performances. And he wrote some good songs.

Detroit December

81. My Favorite Things: Personally I think this song belongs in its rightful (movie) setting. Some people like it as an independent song. It takes all kinds.

82. Every Star:

83. Woman in the Night: Only the first verse is, technically, about Christmas, but the church in which I learned it counted it as a Christmas song.

84. Come On Ring Those Bells: "Oldie"? Ooohhh, I feel sooo old. Evie was a young pop singer...

85. Down in Yon Forest:

86. Here We Come a-Wassailing:

87. Feliz Navidad:

88. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: Some people, not always older people, hate this one. Some, not always baby-boomers, love it. Watch your audience.

My extended family used to include an elder who suffered from extroversion; he actually seemed to like being the target of a version that began with

"Groundhog got run over by a reindeer
In the Friday Market, Christmas Eve.
Some folks say there's no such thing as Santa,
But those the Groundhog pesters--we believe!"

89. Masters in This Hall: Wikipedia notes that most people who sing this one usually stop with four or five verses. William Morris, however, wrote twelve. Here they are. Choose.

90. Rise Up Shepherd:

91. Julian of Norwich: The first female author in English who can still be positively identified was a medieval hermit known by the name of the church to which she was attached. For a hermit "Lady Julian" doesn't seem to have been especially lonely; she took up the solitary life due to illness, so her "solitude" included the services of "nurses" and copyists, and they wrote copies by hand for sale to visitors to the church, where Lady Julian's book was quite an attraction. The actual words evolved from a short text to a long one over the years. The story always mentioned that as a young idealist Lady Julian had prayed to be forced into a solitary, monastic life at the age of forty, and so she was. The message was that "all things shall be well." Ironically, considering that Lady Julian was a devout Catholic, her biography and the not specifically Christian words of the carol about her have appealed to post-Christians like the hosts of this site:

92. O Hanukah: There's a range of opinions about whether whole-Bible Christians are supposed to celebrate Hanukah. I grew up with the feeling that that was sort of like cultural appropriation, although "O Hanukah" was in the school music book, so I learned the English verse linked below. Then when I was past age thirty, in order to be with her patient my mother moved over to the Messianic Jewish side of the Messianic Jewish and Seventh-Day Adventist group where they met. I now have an Officially Converted Jewish Mother who's made bas mitzvah and owns a menorah, and has been known to host mixed "Introduction to Hanukah" parties. People, including me, have mixed feelings about this. I did spend thirty-some years telling people that, whatever they might think we looked like, all of Mother's and my known ancestors were Christians; one wrote a Christian book and others were full-time professional ministers. On Dad's side there were some Rosenbaums...who were German Anabaptists, and one of them was an old-time street preacher who spent every weekend on the thirty-mile road between Gate City and Bristol. Apart from the question of family identity, Messianic Judaism and whole-Bible Christianity are supposed to be almost the same thing.

For those who speak Yiddish and/or Hebrew:

93. Circle of Steel:

94. I Sing of a Maiden:

95. Wassail Wassail:

Some people prefer the shorter U.S. version:

96. Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Personally I get tired of hearing this one worn out just because it's "secular" (more about Yule than Christmas), but some people do like it.

97. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Another song that suffers from overexposure because it treats Christmas as a secular, shopping-oriented holiday.

98. Joseph Lieber Joseph Mein: A selection of English versions is linked to the original German on the page below.

99. Es Ist Ein Ros: Original German and three English versions:

100. Konrad's Christmas Guest: I learned it from Grandpa Jones' recited version but, on request, found a tune it fits. Is this one ever long...yes, there are people who think the thought is worth listening to.

Poems and Songs Featuring "Christmas Guest"