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On a Still and Starry Night

Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.

Thomas S. Monson

About the Song

One day not nearly close enough to Christmas to be really appropriate yet, I was singing “Silver Bells” to myself when nobody was around to scold me for my unseasonable earliness. I love “Silver Bells.” But a funny thing happened as I sang these words from the introductory section:

Whatever happens, or what may be,
This is what Christmastime means to me…

I realized that the song then goes on to list some of the most trivial elements of the season… streetlights, shopping, decorated city sidewalks. Santa’s big scene. And in a fit of rebellion, I started writing down what Christmastime really does mean to me. The result is my 2014 Christmas Card Carol, “On a Still and Starry Night.”

Don’t get me wrong… I still love love love “Silver Bells.” Who wouldn’t? I just think that Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

The SATB for this song is a key higher than the solo, and the accompaniment may be used to accompany the solo if desired. You may want to omit the introductory first page in some settings. Just follow the instructions on the score. The simple hymn setting is harmonized somewhat differently than the anthem, so the accompaniment won’t work well with it.

Listen (and free 128kbps MP3 downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by Allyse Smith Taylor:

Accompaniment track:

HQ Audio Downloads

These files may be copied/shared in any quantity in any physical format unless otherwise noted. They may not be re-sold or offered for download.

YouTube


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Lyrics

Falling snow; lights aglow; carols on the air;
Shining stars, open arms, laughter everywhere.
Of all the pleasures Christmas may bring
Here are the treasures that make my heart sing

There is hope in every dawning
There is purpose in our days
There is promise in our longing
And rejoicing in our praise

There is comfort for our yearning
In our darkness there is Light
Because the Father sent His Son to us
On a still and starry night

There is peace amid disquiet
For the seeking heart to find,
In confusion there is guidance
To relieve the troubled mind

There’s a sure, unerring Pilot
True and faithful by our side
Because the Father sent His Son to us
On a still and starry night

There’s a distant angel chorus
For the willing heart to hear
There are tidings sweet and joyous
To dispel our doubt and fear

There’s a Savior ever nigh us
Ever patient, ever kind
Because the Father sent His Son to us
On a still and starry night

If you have questions, please check the FAQ
If you don't find your answer there, feel free to post your question here. 🙂

23 Comments

  1. Robert H

    I enjoy this song and recording – but didn’t you have a recording by James Loynes also? If so, is it still available? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sally DeFord

      Unfortunately, not for this one.

      Reply
  2. Sonya

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful song! I was looking for something a little different to sing for Christmas. When I found this I was so happy! Thank you, again, for sharing and for free!!!! What a wonderful gesture in the crazy world we live in.

    Reply
  3. Heinrich Jürling

    I need the guitar chords for On still and starry night. Can you provide it?

    Reply
  4. Andrea Bell

    Hello!
    I have the pleasure of speaking about the message behind “On a Still and Starry Night” in our Sacrament meeting this coming Sunday. I just want to make sure I note the author of this song correctly in my talk. Sally, you are the author of this beautiful song, right? I love your ‘About the Song’ as well! You were spot on in writing this and giving us an alternative to all the fun and catchy Christmas songs that steer us away from the real meaning of this season. Thanks for sharing your gifts and talents with us all. If there is anything else you’d like to add about this beautiful song for me to share, feel free!

    Thanks,
    Andrea

    Reply
    • Sally DeFord

      Guilty as charged. I wrote the words and music to this one. There really isn’t any more story than what’s there, so you’re all set. And I still love city sidewalks dressed up for the holidays… I just love the Lord more. Good luck!

      Reply
  5. Yvonne Giltinan

    Hi Sally
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift and music
    I run a gospel choir in Melbourne called Yarra Gospel and we are about to start learning On a still and starry night.
    We heard it sung by another Melbourne choir last Christmas
    I’m wondering if you have a recorded version of the song in 4 parts. I like to play the piece to the choir before they start to help them capture the words and meaning
    Thanks for your advice
    Yvonne

    Reply
    • Yvonne Giltinan

      Hi Sally
      Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift and music
      I run a gospel choir in Melbourne called Yarra Gospel and we are about to start learning On a still and starry night.
      We heard it sung by another Melbourne choir last Christmas
      I’m wondering if you have a recorded version of the song in 4 parts. I like to play the piece to the choir before they start to help them capture the words and meaning
      Thanks for your advice
      Yvonne
      PS Since I wrote 3 weeks ago we have started the song, but I still can’t find an accompaniment in D. Do you have one available that I can purchase please?

      Reply
      • Sally DeFord

        Everything I have ready for public consumption is available here on the website. If it’s not here, it’s not available. The only recording I have for this selection is the solo. 🙂

        Reply
  6. Keira

    Which voicing does this accompaniment track go with? (Since they’re in different keys)
    This is an absolutely beautiful song! Thank you for sharing your incredible talent!

    Reply
  7. Marilyn Kiene

    Thank you for sharing this piece. Your music is wonderful. Thank you for your kindness in making it available to all.

    Reply
  8. SCook

    Thank you so much for sharing your amazing gift! My daughter sang this for our Christmas program while another played the violin accompaniment, and the spirit was so strong. This song is perfection.

    Reply
  9. Robert Robbins

    Just found this! Sally, you have outdone yourself with this one. So many times I have thanked you in my heart for your beautiful music that you so freely share. Great blessing await you in the kingdoms of our Father.

    Reply
  10. Pr. Samuel Inácio da Silva

    Grant musical, I Need Sheet Music for my choir in Brasil – Baptist Church Ipiranga – São Paulo – Brasil

    Reply
  11. Jennifer

    Do you have a violin part for the SSA choir?

    Reply
  12. Lillian Montgomery

    This is really beautiful! Thank you!

    Reply
  13. Kami Gossard

    Thank you Sally for this beautiful song I am singing this as a solo in my Royal Mesa YSA Ward Christmas program and as for my friends and family who couldn’t see me preform or live far away I will be doing a video with me singing this song as my Christmas gift to them .

    Reply
  14. joyce

    Very moving and beautiful

    Reply
  15. Clarissa

    Thank you so much for this song. My sacrament performance got pushed back to the Sunday after Christmas and this song is a perfect blend of Christmas and what Christmas means the rest of the year. I am so excited to put it together.

    Reply
  16. Marlene Bond

    What a beautiful piece of music! I was looking for something for my Whitefish, Montana choir with violin accompaniment. This is the answer to my quest. Thanks so much! My daughter will also sing the solo in her ward in Ogden. We have an annual program for everyone that is very popular for the whole city. They will love this piece! So will my choir!

    Reply
  17. Mary

    I hadn’t figured out how to start or end our Christmas “cantata.” When I came across this, it was just right. I will use the introduction and first verse at the beginning and the last two verses at the end. Thank you.

    Reply
  18. Jeannine

    Wonderful! And just the inspiration I needed to gel up the idea for our Christmas Program!!
    The “Totally Awesome Duncan Ward Choir” loves you

    Reply
  19. Jane Moyer

    Thank you so much for the new Christmas Card Carol, “On a Still and Starry Night”. Just beautiful!

    Reply

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