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Winter Holiday music (Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa)

Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 01:13:53 -0400
From: RJohn196(a)
Subject: Compilation: Holiday Music (longish)

Dear ChoraListers:
I posted the following request for repertoire a while ago:

> I am looking for a piece 6-12 minutes in length that
> celebrates ALL the holidays of the holiday period: Christmas,
> Hanukkah, Kwaanza (if indeed there is one that gets them all
> in).
> Our chorus numbers about 100 voices, community level so
> nothing super-difficult. And I have a full symphony
> orchestra to work with as accompaniment.

Here is a compilation of the replies--not a lot, which is not surprising
considering the several guidelines that were given. As preface to this
listing, I call attention to a recent excellent and comprehensive compilation
by Larry Hook (larryh(a), of Chanukah and Winter pieces
with avoidance of "fluff."

Now, the replies to my own query, with email addresses included as a contact
for more information:

Freedom Come, by Ben Allaway, SATB, soli. Santa Barbara Music Publishing. An
a cappella piece with conga, 5-6 mins. It is african in style, and is a
piece that lends itself to community healing and celebration. Text is
changeable in african singing, so there are places where it would be
appropriate to add words- where it says "Jesus, come" it could also say
"Yahweh, come" etc. It has been widely used as a general Christmas song of

Ben Allaway
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our new JOY TOO ALL THE WORLD does not address Chanukah nor any other
holidays, but does get to a number of different countries - includes Yoruba,
Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Catalonia, Italy, Austria, Germany,

We may just see to the writing of such an opus as you seek in the future!

Barbara Harlow, President
Santa Barbara Music Publishing
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[Echoing the final comment above]: Sounds like a commission to me! I don't
know of any piece that refers to all the different holidays.

Jo Scheier, Pittsburgh
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I don't have a work that would be more than 3-4 minutes long, and it is
Christmas-themed, but I'm hoping you might look at it anyway. "Sing Gloria"
is in lively 5/8 time, with a slower middle section of Isaiah "For unto
us...". The original score is for one piano/4 hands, but I also have it
scored for orchestra accompaniment. Another piece I think might interest you
is "Agnus Dei" from "A Mass for Winter Solstice". The original mass was
written by several Alaskan composers and uses poetry by several Alaskan
authors in addition to the traditional Latin. My assigned movement was the
Agnus Dei, and the poem I incorporated was "Absence Wild", a lovely
description of an Alaskan whiteout (blizzard), which fits amazingly well with
the Latin. These pieces would be something new and unusual for your choir to
tackle; neither is too difficult.

Ann Kapp Andersen
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Here are some suggestions regarding music with orchestra and chorus:

Scott Henderson
YR1107 WinterSong
I'd call Scott directly to ask him about the piece.

Larry Moore
YR3104 If We in our time
A collection of Christmas tunes
YR3109 Trois Noels Francais
Small orchestra with strings, a lovely piece!

Deck the Hall
Twelve Days of Christmas
Silent Night
The Holly and the Ivy

Otherwise.... nothing with orchestra on Kwaanza or Chanukah

[Personal note from the compiler: Roger Bourland is an immensely personable
and helpful man; for this concert, he helped me come up with a wonderful
piece celebrating the Winter Solstice: Triumphant Light, by Donald M.
Skirvin, for either SATB or TTBB chorus, 3 trumpets, timpani, crash cymbal.
I *really* wanted to program it, but alas, only 2 trumpets were available.
Some other time...]

Roger Bourland/Yelton Rhodes Music
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[And again from Ben Allaway responding to a private inquiry about a piece of
his that seemed suitable--and including all of his extensive reply for its
interest and wider relevance]:

Thanks for your inquiry re King Of Light. I'd be happy to send a score; I
don't have a recording of the new orchestration, just the smaller one. If you
would please send me a check for $8.00 that will cover my costs, and you can
keep the score and tape. If you decide to do the work then we'll make other

Re. your multi-faith request, sounds like you need to commission something!
This kind of piece would be right down my alley as I have composed in swahili
(Bandari:Inside These Walls-25 min work, Santa Barbara Music Publishing) and
numerous african-american styles (Wake Up, Ollie Brown; Ride it All Aroun'
-both with SBMP) hispanic (Tres Villancicos, SBMP), and lots of concert
music. I'm working on an oratorio on the life of Martin Luther (not King
Jr.) which will include music of the world in light of Luther's emphasis on
world mission (it actually includes Martin Luther King Jr. and Bonhoeffer).
I could see something like this working as a movement for the oratorio
workable for the multi-faith holiday season.

The last movement of Bandari is Freedom Come which has a flexible text you
can add to to fit this need, but it is only percussion accomp. It is
longish--5-6 minutes--and you can lengthen it ad lib. It definitely works as
an advent/Christmas piece. Santa Barbara has a tape available. Bandari is
about a building used as a neutral negotiating place. Very relevant to the
church burnings, Habitat for Humanity, or other social justice issues.

Ben Allaway
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hope this will be of interest and help.

John Specht

R. John Specht * "Someday we'll find it--
The Queensborough Chorus * The rainbow connection--
Bayside NY * The lover, the dreamer, and me.
RJohn196(a) *
rjsqb(a) *
on September 19, 2005 10:00pm
Bob Wendel has kindly published my song, Little Christmas Child. If you're looking for a pretty, short choral/orchestral piece for your holiday fare, please give it a listen. Go to Click on Holidays on the left, then Christmas, and scroll down to Little Christmas Child. Click on the music notes to hear it, or on the "score PDF" icon to see it. Hope you like it!

Dr. Michael Griffith
Director of Orchestral Activities
The University of Wyoming
(307) 766-3069
on January 8, 2006 10:00pm
Visit to download the score and mp3 file of "Hayo, Haya," an arrangement of a traditional Channukah song for SATB.
on August 20, 2008 10:00pm
What about "Sing for Peace" by Jim Populis and Fancisco J. Nunez. Christmas song about peace that has calls to peace in many languages....doesn't mention any specific holidays though