Christmas is such a unique and special time in the church. We have the true light and hope that people need and are perhaps more open to receiving in that season! Are you thinking through your Christmas music this year yet?
1. Please accept this FREE MP3 download of a new Christmas song for the church called "Hope Is Here (Joy To The World)" It's one of the most downloaded charts right now on PraiseCharts.com and I think you'll like it. http://www.danmacaulay.com/danMacaulay_HopeIsHere-JoyToTheWorld.mp3 (also an attachment to this post)
2. Completely separate from that gift, let me ask you: What has been your favorite Christmas song / song version to lead at your church? I'm already thinking towards what to do in my own church this year! Always open to new versions / arrangements / songs that'll bless the people I lead!
I've always been very partial to "O Holy Night" ... any arrangement/style/genre. I can be moved by it anytime of year.
Absolutely love it, when done well and with feeling - either contemporary style or traditional. Can't stand it done 'tumpty tump' style, with no sustain on notes, what a killer. Don't hear it done alot in the UK though.
Bob Kauflin put a pretty comprehensive list together on his worshipmatters blog last year
I love 'You bring peace' and 'What kind of throne' from here as well
Some of my favourites include:
Lord come this Christmas (Andy Park)
Christmas Offering (Paul Baloche)
Thorns in the straw (Graham Kendrick)
And not especially Christmas but we usually do Light of the world (Tim Hughes)
I would also love to do Emmanuel (Hillsongs)
And for those who like a choral piece I love The Shepherds Farewell (Berlioz)
Gotta jump start this conversation again - surely we're all closer to Christmas-planning now?
I've been a fan of "Here I Am To Worship" as a Christmas song actually.
Everyone knows it but might not have thought of it in a Christmas context.
"Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness..." etc
When you look at it through a Christmas lens its relevant and fresh all over again!
Also "Humble King" by Brenton Brown - awesome in Christmas context. Just awesome.
You're right... I think I'm going to use that, man.
Although I am well into contemporary music, give me traditional Christmas carols anytime, the ones that have been around for centuries.
Most of them - Silent Night being an exception, as it was written for a guitar - lose their effect if played with modern instruments. Only my opinion of course.
I used to think in this same way, but when I started using some of Mannheim Steamroller's chords and arrangements, it helped a lot of the traditional carols fit in with a contemporary band setting really well.
That sounds really interesting, could you tell me a little more? What/who are Mannheim Steamroller's chords?
Thank you. Lorraine
We did a folk-rock Carol service last year in Church and it went down really well - guitars, bass, drums and a flute/penny whistle along with vocals.
Gasp! Christmas music would not be the same without Mannheim! lol They're an instrumental troubadour/rock group, with Chip Davis behind the creative arranging process. He often re-works the songs with simpler chord progressions that reflect more the culture of early Anglo/Saxon folk music, but amazingly these simplicities fit contemporary bands very well. He does take the arrangements off course a lot from the original melodies, but I take the bits and pieces out from the original song. I had to buy the sheet music to get most of his arrangements, but I might have a few chord charts I made up somewhere lol. Some of my favorites that I've used are:
Angels We Have Heard on High
Do You Year What I Hear
Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella (Also the hymn "Love Has Come" and the MOST undersung Christmas carol as it is absolutely gorgeous).
We Three Kings
Away in a Manger
The First Noel
Hark The Herald Angels Sing
The Holly and The Ivy
YouTube some Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music (they're a group that has been around for decades that does, among other things, very tasteful and interesting arrangements... well, just listen to them!) I would have imagined that the name Mannheim Steamroller is a humorous takeoff on "Jefferson Airplane." Actually, though, Wikipedia has an article explaining that a Mannheim Roller is a style using an ostinato bass line (see below).
To do a reasonable imitation, take a tune like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and insert a "pedal tone" between each melody note -- E E B B A G F# E D E F# G A B becomes E e E e B e B e A e G e F# e E e D e etc. like Bach does in the Toccata in D Minor. I think guitar players can do that (it's easy on keyboard, and a flute player and me did a whole evening of ersatz Steamroller at a Christian coffee house, in the 80's). Syncopate a few notes jazz-like and you have the essentials, something halfway between jazz and Bach.