Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blog Caroling ~ Sing We Noel

Not much brings me out of my blogging hibernation, but I cannot resist the chance to sing the music of Christmas with friends. Footnote Maven has again invited us to share our favorite carol. I was challenged this year to find the one I most wanted to share, a traditional French carol that opened every Candlelight Concert at Staples High School when I was growing up. This year was the 73rd concert, and for the 73rd time the high school choirs entered the darkened theater carrying candles and singing Sing We Noel. I wish I could have been there. 

This is not the popular Noel Nouvelet (another favorite) that begins "Sing we now of Christmas", but a choral anthem arranged by H. B. Gaul in the early 20th c. It is more solemn and deliberate, a song that brings quiet to the noisy days of preparation. And it does, of course, remind me of the Christmases when I was young, celebrating first as a wide-eyed child and later as a proud choir member. Christmases before Santa and I became fast friends and co-conspirators. 

I was startled at how out of favor Gaul's arrangement is. Google delivered little more than posts by former Staples choristers mourning the lack of YouTube videos or readily found lyrics. YouTube is flooded with cheery versions of Noel Nouvelet. I was finally able to find references using Bing (a new experience for me since I am not actively researching right now) and to hear a lovely version on Spotify (you must have Spotify installed and an account to listen). Eventually (50 or 60 versions in) I did find a video of a Deland High School (FL) choir performing my chosen Sing We Noel. They are good, but not quite as good as the anthem of my memory.