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Christmas is Here

It seems to be the trend these days that Christmas preparations start in October. The shops begin to display Christmas goods and Christmas songs are played non-stop until December!

In Flagrante is no different. However, our excuse is we have a concert to prepare and must be at our best by the 06 December.

Zooming from Spain in temperatures of 23 degrees, is not the best setting for Christmas songs, however, the next door neighbours seemed to appreciate my solo renditions!

Chatting with another chorister they said they were unsure about what The Parting Glass was about. It is a great example of that special quality found in the best farewell songs – being able to combine joy and sorrow in a way that is both sad yet uplifting at the same time.

The Parting Glass was revisited first. The timing of this song is critical and it is important to watch Elliot for the cut offs (sound familiar?)

As we have been through the first verse so often, the voice parts must be well known.

The challenge is to look up and the best way to do this is keep practising and feel the music and learn the words, so you don’t have to refer to your music scores.

Keep the energy going and this will prevent it from going flat.

Learn the lyrics + Look up = Perfect cut offs

Then on to Christmas.

A general rule for all the Christmas songs is that the word ‘Christmas’ is not crisp with a ChriSTmas sound, but an elongated vowel as in ‘ChrIIIIsmas’ without a ‘t’ sound.

When A Child is Born is a popular Christmas song although it makes no mention of Christmas. The English lyrics were written a few years later by Fred Jay (Friedrich Alex Jacobson who wrote many hits for Boney M.

Fred Jay's lyrics have been sung by many artists, first version by Michael Holm in 1974 but most successfully by Johnny Mathis in 1976, whose version was the Christmas number one of that year in the UK.

Elliot has made a beautiful arrangement of this song for In Flagrante.

Do not be indulgent and slow down when singing ‘When a child is born’. This will only happen at the end as directed.

Altos echo, ‘.. this comes to pass’ after the Sops, but come in very quickly with ‘When a child is born’ (no time to take a breath!)

Tenors can sing the tune on ‘A rosy hue….’ But once you get to ‘.. for a spell or two’ you are harmonising!

Sops, when singing your ‘Ahs’, please sound angelic!

A soft hum for everyone until the key change into the last verse.

Carol of the Bells is a popular Christmas carol which is based on the Ukrainian song called "Shchedryk".

It was adapted as an English Christmas carol, Carol of the Bells, by Peter J Wilhousky of NBC Radio, following a performance of the original song by the Ukrainian National Chorus at Carnegie Hall on October 5, 1922.

Carol of the Bells has been recorded into over 150 versions and re-arrangements for varying vocal and instrumental compositions.

The In Flagrante version only has two pages, which are repeated. The challenge is for the Sops to find somewhere to breathe! Preferably at the end of phrases!

Ding, Dong.

Remember, no crisp ‘Christmas’ and keep ‘Ding Dongs’ with a short vowel and accentuate the consonants ‘d’ and ‘ng’ to sound bell like

Altos in bar 28 remember two ‘dings’

It is best to practise your own voice parts by listening to Dropbox tracks and embed them in your memory and then listen to and sing against the other parts.

Again, watch Elliot for the timings.

Silent Night, a much-loved carol was first performed on Christmas Eve, 1818.

Originally it was sung to a simple guitar accompaniment.

The carol began life as a poem, written in 1816 by Father Joseph Mohr. Two years later, his friend Franz Gruber set the poem to music and the pair first sang the carol at midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

Silent Night had been translated into over 300 languages and was a worldwide Christmas phenomenon.

Our version, arranged by Eamonn, is in slow three time.

Do NOT be tempted to slide – keep it clean.

The bass notes stay the same and don’t change with the chords.

Hints and Tips

Be prepared for each rehearsal by practising at home.

Elliot has a good ear and can hear if you’ve done your homework (or not)!

Listen to the Maestro and watch him carefully, then you can’t go wrong!

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