Choral & Vocal Solos

Bring A Torch Jeannette, Isabella SATB

This is the English translation of a favourite Christmas carol, Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle, from 16th century Provence in France. I originally wrote this arrangement for SAB but later adapted it for the standard mixed choir and piano.

Christ Child Lullaby

I wrote this with my friend Carol Huber when I was a grad student at UBC and singing in the Vancouver Canata Singers under James Fankhauser.  Jim asked me to contribute a piece for a Christmas concert and I asked Carol for a poem. The recording here is the premiere performance. This can be played on harp or piano, and the obbligato part is optional.

Christmas Lullaby SSA

Years after writing the Christ Child Lullaby, I wrote my own words to the song and republished it as the Christmas Lullaby. Here is the women’s trio version recorded by my wife Karen and her sisters Wanda (soloist) and Andrea.

Companions All Sing Loudly SATB

This energetic Basque carol is arranged here for easy choir, accessible to the average ward choir.

The First Noel TBB

This arrangement was made for all the men in my congregation to sing: most would sing melody, some would sing the bass part from the hymn book, and a few tenors would sing the composed counter melody. The piano part is very easy as well. So, if you need something for mostly untrained singers to perform, this is a good choice (or a trained choir, of course).

The Friendly Beasts

This charming Christmas song is always well received by choirs and audiences. I made an arrangement of Friendly Beasts for a women’s choir who had a member who played a fine viola. I have also adapted it in the past for SAA. The piano accompaniment makes this arrangement quite flexible.

Good King Wenceslas SATB

This arrangement is from a set I wrote for my chorale in 2000.  It has been performed several times since then – great fun (if you have a good pianist…)

I Wonder As I Wander SAB

One of my father’s favourites, he would often sing it as a solo at Christmas with me at the piano. I arranged this beautiful Appalacian carol for him to sing with my chorale in 2000.

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

This lovely American Carol (certainly not limited to Christmas) has become one of my favourites. Like “Adam lay ybounden” from Britten’s Cermony of Carols, this carol makes an explicit link between Jesus’ role as Messiah and the fall in Eden. (See I Corinthians: Since by man came death, by man came also the ressurection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.)

Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming

Originally written for three-part women’s voices, I later adapted this arrangement for SAB. This, of course, is the famous Christmas carol written by Michael Praetorius in 1609, the German title of which is “Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen“. 

O Come, O Come Emmanuel SATB

One of the most beloved Christmas carols, this arrangement featuring organ accompaniment was commissioned in 2008 for the Ottawa Stake choir. 

O Little Town of Bethlehem SATB

This famous Christmas carol was arranged for my ward choir – simple, yet effective.

Masters In This Hall SATB

A lively carol in antique French style, this was actually written around 1860 by an English poet (I have altered/added lyrics at will).

Silent Night SATB Organ

I have written a few arrangements of Silent Night over the years. Recently I felt like I should do a new, more creative version, the outlines of which came to me in the course of a few minutes. This arrangement is not for the beginner choir, but it will bring ample rewards to the skilled. You won’t have heard anything quite like it before.

Wexford Carol SATB

A beautiful traditional Christmas melody from Ireland that will charm and delight.  (This arrangement is also available for Soprano solo on the Vocal Solo-Sacred page).

Winter Lamentation (Sad Jingle Bells) SA

Anyone who has experienced a Canadian winter will easily relate to this comical choir number. It will be a hit at your winter concert (in northern climes at least!)

When First T'was Heard That Christ Was Born

This Christmas Carol was written when I was a graduate student, on a Sunday when I stayed home with a sick baby. It won a Carol competition at Brock University. The recording is of my Chorale in 2000.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks SATB

This delightful chorus is an expansion of a “fuguing” version of this popular carol, found in “The Easy Instructor”, a shape-note book published by William Little in 1798 (my copy is from 1841). The recording is from my chorale’s Christmas concert in 2000.

Piano Solo

12 Christmas Carols

for Intermediate Piano Solo

Angels We Have Heard On High and Far, Far Away On Judea's Plains

It’s always much trickier to write fast music for intermediate players, but I had fun with this one. Very big and enthusiastic!

The First Noel

You would think with a melody that basically repeats the same phrase three times, this tune would get tiresome, but the odd form is satisfying and I find this melody a deep well of expressive possibility.

Good King Wenceslaus

Based on my choral arrangement, this is a vigorous, muscular interpretation.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

I wrote this solo on the famous Christmas carol by Mendelssohn for an intermediate piano student of mine. Mendelssohn’s hymn was originally written in praise of Gutenberg!

I Wonder As I Wander and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Two traditional carols in the minor mode, one collected in North Carolina in 1932 by John J. Niles and the other an English tune from the 1600’s or earlier.

O Come, All Ye Faithful and Joy To the World

Two of the most famous Christmas carols, I enjoyed intertwining the melodies of these masterworks.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

This melody is first seen in a 15th century manuscript in the French National Library, with the text “Bone Jesu dulcis cunctis”, a funeral procession. This medieval manuscript is a two-voiced setting, and I have used that countermelody in my piece.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

This solo uses both of the tunes commonly used for this well-known carol, mixing them with each other.

Silent Night

This early intermediate arrangement has echoes of my choral arrangement.

We Three Kings

A piano arrangement specially requested by one of my early intermediate level students.

What Child Is This? and Away In A Manger

This arrangement is unusual in the set: it uses a jazz style of complex harmony that makes for a unique musical interpretation.

Wexford and Coventry Carols

The Wexford Carol comes from Ireland and Coventry Carol from England. Both have a lovely, ancient modal character that I so much enjoy working with.

12 Christmas Carols - printed book

Coil-bound book with glossy cover and 39 pages, including background notes on each carol.

Organ Solo

Organ Prelude - O Little Town of Bethlehem

I wrote this prelude one Christmas when I was visiting home and was asked to play something at the Stake Christmas fireside. It has been an audience favourite (and one of mine) ever since.

Organ Prelude - Silent Night

This is a prelude I wrote in 2017 to play at my ward’s Christmas Eve sacrament meeting. 

Instrumental Ensembles

Away In A Manger - Violin, Piano

A simple, yet lovely arrangement using two of the common tunes for this Christmas carol.

The First Noel - Piano/Organ Duet

A sweeping, dramatic treatment of this favourite carol.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Piano/Organ Duet

This is actually a combination of three Renaissance carols: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Noel Nouvelet and Personent Hodie.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing - Piano/Organ Duet

Adapted from the piano solo, this makes for a very effective and energetic duet.

O Come Emmanuel - Piano/Organ Duet

This ancient melody has long been a universal favourite at Christmas time.

O Little Town of Bethlehem - Piano/Organ Duet

Lovely duet for firesides or worship services.

What Child Is This? - Piano/Organ Duet

Based on the piano solo from my collection above, this duet creates a piano and orchestra texture.

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