Wilburn evaluated an arrangement of “Joy to the World.” In his review he commended a band that has “…taken their signature edgy style and used it to revamp the classic carol, …” He notes that, “The band gives the verses a U2 feel with delayed electrics and long pedal tones.” In addition, the band has added a simple refrain, “ ‘all of heaven and all of creation sing the wonders of his love,’ putting it over a heavy drum(-)driven syncopated rhythm.”
Just when I thought an arrangement could not be more appalling, Wilburn introduces another Christian band arranged carol, “What Child is This?” He writes that “… a pair of picking acoustics and violin, . . .” gives a folk feel to this traditional English carol. Then, “Slowly, the song add(s) instruments and builds energy until the whole band enters on the final refrain for a hard rock ending.”
Having been a participant in services where new arrangements of Christmas carols inspired movement and encouraged clapping, I started to wonder if by next year our church might include a Christmas carol rap.
Long ago I decided that if people who come up with rap songs are composers, then anyone can be a composer. So here is my Christmas rap contribution:
He came here on a night so clear/A child that brought us all good cheer/Now angels played on harps of gold/When they arrived and their story told/Yeah/Oh yeah
The song they’re singin’ right here, right now/It’s about that child over by that cow/That song floatin’ out for all to hear/Is bringin’ you courage and much good cheer. Yeah/Oh yeah
So listen right now you weary and sad/Sit and let the angel song make you glad/They’re wantin’ you to know that the baby in the trough/Is the Christ Child King so don’t nod off/Yeah/Oh yeah ©
Okay, I’m whining. And, yes, I would like a little cheese with my whine.
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
~Edmund Hamilton Sears
Celtic Woman is a popular contemporary group that sings Christmas songs and carols beautifully. Many of their selections are on their CD/DVD “Home for Christmas.”