Rejoice! These Christmas choral songs praise the Prince of Peace and Lord of Lords and are built just for heartfelt, moving Christmas performances. The following six song selections are perfect choices to unite their performing choir, listening congregation, and music-lovers everywhere. These songs can add depth and vivacity to a church Christmas production, a holiday service, or evangelistic musical outreach. Arranged by Praise Gathering’s finest composers and musicians, (among them, Lanny Wolfe, Jay Rouse, Charles Wesley, John Darwall, Walter L. Black, and Randy Vader), each selection comes ready with a track to rehearse to, choral books, and orchestration PDFs. The vocal arrangements are learnable and engaging, and the arrangements combine a mix of upbeat praise and heartfelt worship.
“Rejoice!” (Jay Rouse)
“I Give You My Heart” (Jay Rouse)
“Lovely Baby with Jesus, King of Angels” (Jay Rouse)
Choral Music and Church: The Music of Community
Choral music is unique in being a fundamentally communal form of musical expression. Across every culture, time period, belief and experience, music binds us together. Music, all throughout history, has also served as a cornerstone of spiritual expression, from traditional Spirituals to generations of church music, formal and informal, from the pulpit, to the microphone, to street-side outreach. No church has ever been one person, and choral music operates with an almost poetic similarity. Every voice must contribute to produce these rich pieces designed for community; the feat of choral music, quite literally, cannot be accomplished on its own.
The wonderful thing about these ready-made Christmas songs, built just for such settings by experienced composers, is that they know the nature of choral music full well: they exist to foster community and understanding in every note. When the church becomes lofty, unattainable, or difficult to understand, the church has failed. The communal, genuine experience of music works wonders, with the right song and right execution, to undo this danger. Christmas songs should be anything but cold, isolated experiences; ironically, it’s the season when warmth is needed the most. Good choral music helps boost the spirits of the church into that old expression, Rejoice!, but we must also be aware of the need for music to lift low spirits during Christmastime. Music can lift high spirits higher, but, perhaps more importantly, it can raise spirits that need something more than dry dissertations or quiet sayings to boost their hopes again. Take traditional Spirituals for example. These songs, an ingrained piece of African-American history, were usually not created and sung to rejoice over pleasant circumstances. Rather, they were a deliberate effort to raise the spirits up when all seemed lost. Churches must be aware of the wide range of feelings and spirits among their community. Some need raising; some need only a few words to put to their rejoicing; and heartfelt, honest choral music pieces, especially when sung in the united power of a choir and to the connected listeners of a community, can lift up them all.
Choral music understands the importance of music for the soul. We all know far too well how modern music in the church can feel surface-level, monotonous, and sometimes lacking in the original depth of songs sang by early Christians for sustenance and hope. Choral music has none of these qualities; by its very nature it’s fitted for authentic community expression, a unified experience, and warmth in a world of cold.
Christmas Storytelling in Choral Music
The Christmas story stands in a precarious position. Why? Among American congregations, it has been told so many times that it stands in danger of appearing monotonous—or cold. Boiled down to its facts, and its stereotypical pulpit-mode of storytelling, it can begin to feel textbook, like a mere factual tidbit, to experienced congregations, and also to children. A story feels fresh the first time; its twists are shocking, its message hits home; but, by the nature of stories, it does not ring quite the same on the fortieth re-read. What’s the answer, then? Surely, not to stop teaching the Christmas story, to abandon the yearly recounting of that singular event that exploded across philosophy and theology and cleaved history into two eras? No; the answer is not to quit telling it, but to give its telling variety. Ask yourself whether your church audience will truly feel and wake up to the meaning of the “Christmas story” better by a common recounting or by a chorus singing and feeling its depth. Truly, music feels meaning better than speaking can.
Forces in choral music around the world have stepped up to this challenge throughout history, and, luckily for us, we have no shortage of performance pieces to choose from. “All is Calm, All is Bright”, (Randy Vader, Jay Rouse, Camp Kirkland), that herald of peace and melodic memory, is perfect for easing any church into the depth of choral music. “Forever Gloria!” (Randy Vader, Jay Rouse) takes a fresh angle with upbeat, joyful storytelling. “And on Earth…Peace” (Randy Vader, Jay Rouse & Rose Aspinall) spreads the story of God incarnate with intention and light. “Rejoice the Lord is King” (Charles Wesley, John Darwall, Walter L. Black) brings majestic tones to an immense message. All have been formed in the hands of talented musicians, precise arrangers and passionate composers, built for church services and choirs.
Praise Gathering Choral Music
If you’re looking for a place to begin exploring choral music for your church, and especially for the approaching Christmas season, praisegathering.com is the place to locate all the above-mentioned songs and arrangements. The music group works with experienced, authentic artists (including Randy Vader, Jay Rouse, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Camp Kirkland, Rose Aspinall, Walter L. Black, Todd Syswerda, Mary McDonald, and Marty Parks) to make the power of choral music available to all.
Give Them a Listen!
Christmas Choral Music
PraiseGathering’s Extensive Catalog of Christmas Choral Songs
Christmas Favorites for Organ
Renowned organist Diane Bish’s collection of seventeen Christmas favorites which include Glory to God In The Highest, How Brightly Shines the Morning Star, Echo Noel, O Holy Night and many more!