Friday Favorites #2
Here’s a piece I’ve used a couple of times at Christmas, both with my ward choir and the Institute Choir. It’s called “O Tidings of Comfort and Joy,” a medley of the traditional French carol “Sing We Now of Christmas” and the traditional English carol “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” arranged by Betsy Lee Bailey.
In spite of the minor key of both songs, this arrangement is upbeat and quite cheerful. My choirs found it a bit of a challenge, but by no means impossible. Don’t be fooled by the mostly-quarter-notes look of the accompaniment. It’s written in cut time, and it’s very quick. You’ll need a very capable accompanist.
After we had this one learned, it was one of those songs that we couldn’t help smiling over when we finished. It definitely passes the Fun Test.
If you listen to the audio demo, you’ll notice that it is accompanied on the organ. We used piano instead–I just preferred the sound of this one on piano. The percussiveness definitely adds to the effectiveness of the piece. You’ll also notice that this sound file includes only the first three pages of the song, which is too bad. Oh well.
Definitely one of my favorites. Enjoy!
Thank you so much for the nice endorsement of my arrangement, “O Tidings of Comfort and Joy.” I also prefer the percussive quality of the piano for the accompaniment for that piece.
I first became aware of your music through a family who knew you in Colorado when they moved into our ward in Maryland. Mary Bullock is a wonderful violinist with a super talented family. We performed often together sometimes doing your music, sometimes mine, also with a lot of Bach in the mix.
May I share one of my other Christmas songs that has become a favorite, especially since the addition of Mary’s beautiful violin expertise. “On a Sacred Still and Silent Night” is available from Jackman Music but should be done at a much faster tempo:
A recording with Mary playing is on my website:
Your music is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
You’re very welcome! It’s a pleasure to give a shout-out to such an enjoyable arrangement. 🙂
I’m a HUGE fan & have wanted to write you for years. I’ve been a choir pianist for over 15 years in wards in UT & CA, and you are loved and admired for your immense talent & generosity in sharing it. Not a Christmas or Easter program goes by without some “Sally” in it. My mother & two sisters have also been choir pianists or directors, so we share the wealth that we find here. You are amazing. Thank you.
I wanted to share a different arrangement of Noel Nouvelet we used for our Christmas sacrament meeting program (from the “Garland of Carols” cantata by Jean Anne Shafferman & Anna Laura Page.) Same reaction by the choir, though- they LOVED singing it! There were other numbers we needed to work on, but they always wanted to practice that one!
You can hear it at the publisher’s Lorenz web site: http://www.lorenz.com/product.aspx?id=65_2038L
It’s specifically under “Suite 3: The Promise of Joy”. Also easy to learn- basically men & women’s parts with a little SATB thrown in. Nice key change. (We did skip the interim narration, though.)
What Christmas program is complete without one of your arrangements! I played your “Bring a Torch Jeanette, Isabella” (or as I call it, “Where’s the flashlight, Jenny & Izzy??”) This number brought my sister to tears, as it’s one of her favorite Christmas songs. She promptly added to HER Christmas program in her ward.
Many, many thanks-