We are participating tonight in the Nanaimo Carol Festival, a wonderful community concert with nine different local choirs and lots of in-between carol singing. I think my favourite song in the repertoire of the choir I accompany this year is a new arrangement by Jordan Sparkman of “Here We Come A-Caroling” published this year. On this night of caroling for us, it feels like the right piece to share here.
It seems my mom is not satisfied with just choral music on this December tour of carols and has requested some instrumental and ‘less formal’ pieces. Since her wish is my command here this month (!!), here is the Annie Moses string band with a rousing version of “Jingle Bells”. Enjoy, Mom.
We aren’t likely to experience sleigh bells or snow glistenin’ much this year but the thought is still a nice one, especially set to music. Here’s the University of Utah Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr. Barlow Bradford, who also arranged this familiar piece.
Here is the Vancouver Youth Choir, under the direction of Carrie Tennant, with Mykola Leontovych’s “Carol of the Bells”. The arrangement here is based on one performed several years ago by vocal supergroup Pentatonix.
Not all the choral music that stops me in my tracks is of the sacred variety- take Voces8’s spellbinding arrangement and performance of the American folk song, “Shenandoah.” .
Today is World Peace Day, something I think deserves observance. The tune in my head today is “Ukuthula”, a traditional Zulu song of peace and faith, sung here by the Cape Town Youth Choir. You can read a full translation of the lyrics here.
Ēriks Ešenvalds’ setting of Sara Teasdale’s nostalgic poem, “Only In Sleep” was recently recorded by the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge under the direction of Stephen Layton. The result is simply stunning.
Only in sleep I see their faces,
Children I played with when I was a child,
Louise comes back with her brown hair braided,
Annie with ringlets warm and wild.
Only in sleep Time is forgotten—
What may have come to them, who can know?
Yet we played last night as long ago,
And the dollhouse stood at the turn of the stair.
The years had not sharpened their smooth round faces,
I met their eyes and found them mild—
Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder,
And for them am I too a child?
Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)