Today is the start of Advent and also the first practise for the carol choir at St Clement’s. Our candlelit carol service will be at 6:30pm on Sunday 14 December and this year we are following a fairly traditional “Nine Lessons and Carols” arrangement.
We only have two rehearsals scheduled and the second isn’t until the day of the performance so we are not being too ambitious with our selection of songs. However we are going to try Rutter’s Navity Song, I’ve managed to slip the gorgeous 16th century Coventry Carol into proceedings and I am hoping that we can do While Shepherds Watched to the original Cranbrook tune (a rousing melody, now better associated with being on Ilkley Moor without a hat).
Whereas most of our material is being drawn from the Oxford Carols for Choirs books, they don’t have this tune so I did some online research and combined several sources to create a two part arrangement that we will try this afternoon. It is already on the second draft and, if we spot mistakes or opportunities this afternoon, it may change again but I’ve put my While Shepherds (Cranbrook) online in case you’d like to take a look (created with the marvellous Lilypond / Frescobaldi combination).
As a postscript, if you are nearby, enjoy relatively simple singing in parts and read this in time you would be welcome to come and join the choir – rehearsals at St Clement’s church on Marston Road, Oxford, from 3:30 – 5:30pm this afternoon, the afternoon of 14 December and performing that evening – if you do, ask for me and someone will introduce you.