One last carol for Christmas night. 😊 Not all great carols of the Christmas season are old and traditional, as we’ve seen. Some are modern creations, and one of the greatest modern carols, written in 2001 and now sung around the world, is “The Shepherd’s Carol” by the British composer and choir-master Bob Chilcott (b. 1955), with words from Australian poet Clive Sansom (1910–1981):
December is Homeschool Holiday Music Month in the River Houses, and throughout the month we’re sharing an assortment of seasonal favorites in a great variety of styles and genres — classical and modern, sacred and secular, serious and silly — along with a collection of easy educational notes that will let you teach little musical lessons all along the way.
The above performance of “The Shepherd’s Carol” is from the choir of King’s College at Cambridge University, one of the world’s most famous choirs and a group that Chilcott himself sang in as a boy and as a university student. Sansom’s words tell the Christian Nativity story from the perspective of the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night, a scene that every well-educated homeschooler, whether religious or secular, should be able to recognize:
We stood on the hills, Lady,
Our day’s work done,
Watching the frosted meadows
That winter had won.
The evening was calm, Lady,
The air so still,
Silence more lovely than music
Folded the hill.
There was a star, Lady,
Shone in the night,
Larger than Venus it was
And bright, so bright.
Oh, a voice from the sky, Lady,
It seemed to us then
Telling of God being born
In the world of men.
And so we have come, Lady,
Our day’s work done,
Our love, our hopes, ourselves,
We give to your son.
Ancient stories in modern hands continue to give rise to beautiful music.
Here’s hoping you and your homeschool family have had a wonderful Christmas. 😊
❡ Musical memories: If you’d like to fill your homeschool with some beautiful background sounds during the holidays, why not tune in to the 24-hour Holiday Channel from WQXR, the famous classical music station in New York City. “Enjoy the sounds of orchestras, choirs, brass ensembles and more as we celebrate the sacred and secular sounds of the season.” I have it on as background music almost all day. Won’t you join me? 📻
❡ Lift every voice: This is one of our occasional posts on Homeschool Arts & Music. Add your name to our weekly mailing list and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🗞