Angels We Have Heard on High

Hello, I am pleased to be a part of the chorus family of Souhegan Valley, although I’ve decided to take a break for the fall in order to adjust my work schedule. The Christmas season hopefully will get our spirits up after what’s been happening lately. This season I am going to be helping out with posts on the songs for the semester along with Janine Leffler and Sonya Walcott. To start off, let me tell you about the Christmas Carol that you are used to singing when thinking about the Birth of Jesus.

In Luke 2:14, it celebrates with the Angels singing in heaven before the echoing off the mountains. The Shepards lay in the field keeping watch over the flock by night. The French loved to sing about this during the holiday season, and they did before the lyrics were translated and recreated by James Chadwick in 1862. The English lyrics aren’t exactly like the translation from the French version; but it still demonstrates joy and glory when singing.

The song opens with the invitation for Christians to come see the birth of baby Jesus, and then asks why the celebration; before the third stanza talks about the invitation. The best part is the “Gloria in Excelsis Dio“; latin for Glory to God in the Highest. This was arranged in the chorus part by Edward Snippen Barnes. Today Christians who attend church on Christmas eve or Christmas day sing this tune after the Gospel reading.

Two years ago the chorus did an alternative version called Sing with the Angels. After two verses, we sung the Gloria part. I thought this was one of my favorite songs for the semester. Once you get into the chorus part let your mind and souls be in good spirit, and don’t try to brush too much with your vocal chords. I hope reading about this gives you a good idea of where this song came from.


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