Holiday concert Processionals
The following is the list of resonpses I received from a request for Holiday
Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending arr. Willcocks by Oxford Universty Press
has nice solid text, good refrain (although words aren't repeated), and
a fourth verse that soars. Brass can also be included for majestic effect.
Trust me, you can not go better!.
Try Whalum's "Betelehemu." We did this last year, with about
a dozen african drums. It raised the roof off the place!
Assistant Professor of Music
Once in Royal David's City, from Oxford Book of Carols (or Oxford's "100
Carols for Choirs"), arranged by Sir David Willcox. Do the first verse
unaccompnied with a soloist if you have one who can hold the pitch, or with
a group of sopranos (tune only) if they can keep th pitch. Then bring in the
accompnaimnet from the 2nd verse (organ if available, otherwise piano).
Personent Hodie is a wonderful piece--it's in the Oxford book of carols too.
One piece that became a tradition for the wi nter concert at the high school
where I was a student (Princeton High School in Princeton, NJ) was "Christus
Regnat" by Flor Peeters, for unison choir, organ, and brass.
"O Come, O Come Emmanual," start with men alone on melody, have full choir
join in 4-parts at "Rejoice" refrain. Use single handbell to give initial
pitch, help keep choir in tune, and add majesty.
Freedom Come: Inside These Walls, by Ben Allaway, Santa Barbara Music
Publishing, comes in SATB, SSAA and TTBB so with multiple groups you can use
various voicings for dramatic effect around the room. The text invites
people in for a time of reconciliation and community strengthening. The
builds to an Advent-appropriate text, "Jesus Come" "Freedom Come"
"Hallelujah". A single conga, with options of adding as much percussion as
you like, keeps everyone together in the procession. Soloists carry the
melody with the chorus supporting on verses and refrains. It is in a South
African style. The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers opened their tour program
with this work this year.
Another is the renaissance version of E la, don, don, edited by Noah
Greenberg, Arista (????), one of three Spanish carols by anonymous
Strong soloist necessary, repetitive chorus, hand drum helps keep things
Try "Glad We Be This Day" by Phyllis Wolfe. I have used it with all
ages--can be done in unison or SAB, and I also used the Renaissance
instrumentation--hand drum, oboe, violin, cello. My students loved it--the
text is secular, ending with the words "glad we be this day for music has
Landstown High School
I would suggest three of my arrangements for brass quartet and choir, all
published by Neil Kjos:
Yorkshire Wassail (the traditional "Here We Come a-wassailing")
Good Day, Sir Christmas (Anonymous fifteenth century carol - 2 parts)
Make We Joy (Anonymous fifteenth century carol - 2 parts)
We have used these at the National Madrigal Festival in Carnegie Hall and
they were well received.
Lift up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates, Mark Schweizer from Sewanee Composer's
- It's an Irish fiddle tune in 2 parts with lots of accompanying instruments
that give it a distinctively medieval flavor.
Psallite Unigenito, Praetorious - we sang it in the church while walking, as
a rehearsal technique, and then used it as a procession on Christmas Eve.
Have you tried Dr. Lara Hoggard's setting of Personent Hodie (with brass)?
R. Paul Drummond
"Personent hodie" arranged by Lara Hoggard. I'll have to look up the
ordering info, if you are interested.
Stephen M. Hopkins
Director of Choral Activities
Hayes School of Music
Have 2 I will endeavor to mail to you in the next 2 weeks....
A version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" I did for my chorus, starts off
and once they are in place on stage, goes into SATB
and one I am presently working on based on the "Song of Galilee"
Adeste is a new piece by Ed Hughes which has been used with great success.
Here is the Description:
"Angels We Have Heard on High" joins "Adeste Fideles" for a unique Christmas
offering. Chant, handbells, optional audience/congregation sing-along, and a
rousing, dramatic ending make this a great addition to the Christmas
literature. Choirs can process in to this piece, a children's choir could
sing the unison melodic section-endless are the possibilities. Six minute
SBMP 371 - it can be seen at the Santa Barbara website - www.sbmp.com
Barbara Harlow, President
Santa Barbara Music Publishing
Not exactly tried and true, but definitely worth a look: Donald PEarson's
Here are some of the things we've used with the Cathedral Choral Society at
Washington National Cathedral - long aisle and the procession of the Advent
Wreath (a la Liverpool Cathedral) -
Once in Royal David's City - from a single voice to a rousing full-throated
organ, brass and, 3 choirs (like King's College does)
Divinum mysterium (Of the Father's Love Begotten)
Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (Elizabeth Posten)
Veni Emmanuel (several settings)
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Come now Savior of the heathen) in plainsong,
chorale and modern setting
Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her
Did the Lutheran chorale and then two Bach chorale preludes on either
side BWV 738 and BWV 606, followed by the Final Chorale, from the Christmas
Oratorio, BWV 248
And then there is this fascinating piece Dr. Lewis found called "Hanacpachap
cussicuinin" the first piece of vocal polyphony in the New World. I did a
lot of research on the piece at the Library of Congress, so if you decide to
do it, I'll share my program notes with you for it.
The text is in Quechua, the dialect of Cuzco and the imperial language of
Incas. A rain stick and Andean bombo drum accompanied the choirs in
procession. We later reused the piece for the procession on Millennium Eve
1999/2000 at the Cathedral.
Hope this helps.
Program Annotator & Editor, PRELUDE
Cathedral Choral Society
"Nova, nova, ave fit ex eva" by Williametta Spencer, publ by
National. It has a triangle part, otherwise a cappella. We've used it
for processionals, and it works well. It has some tricky spots, but
you could have a smaller group sing some verses and the whole shebang
sing the refrains. It's in English, with only that one phrase (the
title) in Latin.
Allen H Simon
Soli Deo Gloria
Try to find Caccini's Ave Maria - it is unison, wonderful melody, quite
simple, and need a good pianist only, who can direct the procession by the
I have a piece called 'Christmas Processional' SATB with opt. tambour and
tambourine. It has a long intro which may be repeated for large groups,
etc. and sacred text. It is published with Jenson/Hal Leonard and has been
a top seller for high schools, colleges, community and church choirs for 20
years. It has the feeling of chant at the beginning and in a 3/2 pattern
which is easy to process in to. Each voice is brought in individually and
in unison, (which you could repeat if necessary,) and then at the end when
on stage they all sing together in SATB. It has a festive ending, easily
memorized and can be used with candlelight (flashlight) :)
gaudite...in the kings singers christmas collection, or other
sources......you can add or subtract parts as needed, since there's lots of
thousand oaks high school
I adapted a 16th century Spanish carol by creating Christmas words that
makes a perfect processional piece. My piece is accompanied by tambourine.
The words start like this: Welcome to you friends, who join us here this
evening. Christmas time is coming, hear the joyful singing.....
It's not published yet, so if you want to try it I will be gled to send you
I have also used the Pitoni "Cantate Deo" as a processional with great
end of compilation
Garrett W. Lathe
Director of Choral Activities
Sartell High School
748 Seventh St. N.
Sartell, MN 56377