An English Christmas

Christmas as celebrated in England is a relatively new tradition. Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901, was largely of German descent and in 1840 she married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from Saxony in southern Germany. He brought many German Christmas traditions with him (including the Christmas tree and Christmas cards) and helped to forge what is now thought of as the traditional English Christmas.

Similarly, although the English have a long tradition of carol singing, many of the tunes we sing are of European or American origin. Although I knew Silent Night was Austrian and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing was German, I was surprised to discover that Away in a Manger and We Three Kings are American in origin and that Ding Dong, Merrily on High was French.

Nevertheless, I still managed to find a varied selection of English melodies to arrange into this ‘Festival of Carols’.

Performance notes:-

This medley works equally well with or without choir. When played by band alone, the choir parts are cued into the band parts.

The marked tempos are suggested for a band performance and may need to be slowed a little when performed with a choir, depending on the number of voices and the hall’s acoustics.