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Peter Clark

O Come Or Once In Royal

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Please help settle a minor dispute. Partner's sister, not particularly musical (but a good page turner) maintains that O Come All Ye Faithful is the most common "opener" for Christmas carol services, Midnight Mass and so on, based on a trivia quiz she saw on the web. I, musical, with 30 years expoeience playing at carol services, Midight Mass &c, maintain that the more likely choice would be Once in Royal David's City, O Come all ye beong reserved for the recessional. Opinions please!

 

Peter

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Please help settle a minor dispute. Partner's sister, not particularly musical (but a good page turner) maintains that O Come All Ye Faithful is the most common "opener" for Christmas carol services, Midnight Mass and so on, based on a trivia quiz she saw on the web. I, musical, with 30 years expoeience playing at carol services, Midight Mass &c, maintain that the more likely choice would be Once in Royal David's City, O Come all ye beong reserved for the recessional. Opinions please!

 

Peter

 

 

Once in Royal - entrance hymn

O Come All Ye Faithful - Offertory or Recessional at Midnight, depending on timing of the service!

 

If your midnight mass actually starts at Midnight, then that slightly alters things!

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Please help settle a minor dispute. Partner's sister, not particularly musical (but a good page turner) maintains that O Come All Ye Faithful is the most common "opener" for Christmas carol services, Midnight Mass and so on, based on a trivia quiz she saw on the web. I, musical, with 30 years expoeience playing at carol services, Midight Mass &c, maintain that the more likely choice would be Once in Royal David's City, O Come all ye beong reserved for the recessional. Opinions please!

 

Peter

 

For many years I have favoured Once in Royal David's City as the opener for a Carol Service - as at King's Cambridge - and O Come, all ye Faithful to open Midnight Mass. Here, we sing the first five verses during the procession to the Crib, followed by the blessing of the Crib, and then the sixth and seventh verses while the altar is being incensed. Lyndon likes to use an extract from the Hallelujah Chorus as a fanfare before verse six.

 

Local customs aside, I do think that O Come, all ye Faithful is liturgically more fitting as a processional.

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I think every Carol service/Nine Lessons and Carols that I’ve ever done has opened with “Once in Royal”. Most Midnight Mass services I’ve been to start at 23:30, with “O come, all ye Faithful” as soon as possible after midnight, this usually includes the last verse “Yea, Lord we greet thee”.

 

:rolleyes:

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Carol Service:

Once in royal David's city (procession)

O come, all ye faithful

 

Midnight Mass:

Of the Father's love (procession)

O come, all ye faithful

 

Christmas Day:

O come, all ye faithful

Hark! the herald angels sing

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I tend to think Once in royal to start the carol service, and O come for Midnight Mass - even if "Yea, Lord, we greet thee" is a few minutes early!

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Opinion is roughly 50/50 it seems. Perhaps I should take the coward's way out and have Come to the Manger! (Just kidding, folks!)

 

:rolleyes:

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Opinion is roughly 50/50 it seems. Perhaps I should take the coward's way out and have Come to the Manger! (Just kidding, folks!)

 

How about “Joseph’s Carol” by Giles Swayne?

 

:rolleyes::)

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Another one, if sung at 'Midnight Mass' starting at 11.30, that has to be sung after midnight is 'Christians awake, salute the happy morn'. A short sermon can mess this up!

 

FF :rolleyes:

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Carol service - Once in royal David's city, with the head chorister singing the first verse solo and reading the first reading.

Midnight Mass - O Come all ye Faithful, with, as some others have noted, the extra verse if after midnight.

 

This year, the head chorister's voice has started noticeably changing, but he should make it okay. The joys of having trebles rather than a mixed choir.

 

How do other directors conspire to keep the younger members of the choir awake for the midnight Mass? I provide them with chocolate and sugar based drinks (normally we only supply water and don't encourage chocolate consumption before a performance) to help them stay awake, and let the parents deal with them after the service! This year, our youngest is a very precocious seven-year-old, and I'll be interested to see how he does. He's the youngest I've had in the regular choir.

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Another one, if sung at 'Midnight Mass' starting at 11.30, that has to be sung after midnight is 'Christians awake, salute the happy morn'. A short sermon can mess this up!

 

FF :rolleyes:

 

Surely one of the dreariest tunes ever written!

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Please help settle a minor dispute. Partner's sister, not particularly musical (but a good page turner) maintains that O Come All Ye Faithful is the most common "opener" for Christmas carol services, Midnight Mass and so on, based on a trivia quiz she saw on the web. I, musical, with 30 years expoeience playing at carol services, Midight Mass &c, maintain that the more likely choice would be Once in Royal David's City, O Come all ye beong reserved for the recessional. Opinions please!

 

Peter

 

Hi

 

My PREFERENCE is for "O Come" - I can't remember the last time I used "Once in Royal" as the first item in any service - it would have been a very long time ago. I also often use "O Come" as the closing carol (but not if it's been the opener!). We don't have processions (or even a choir) so the considerations are not quite the same.

 

Our main carol service this year will start with "Joy to the World" ("O Come" is the closer - linked with a contemporary worship song - Hossanah)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Carol Service:

Once in royal David's city (procession)

O come, all ye faithful

 

Midnight Mass:

Of the Father's love (procession)

O come, all ye faithful

 

Christmas Day:

O come, all ye faithful

Hark! the herald angels sing

I go along with much of this. If I didn't start the carol service with Once in royal, solo verse 'n all, I'd probably be linched.

 

For midnight I always start with Of the Father's love, which I adore, and finish with O come all ye faithful. Hark! the jelly babies I do as little as I can get away with, same applies to The first nowell.

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If I didn't start the carol service with Once in royal, solo verse 'n all, I'd probably be linched.

Yes. The King's thing has been done so often and for so long that it's completely hackneyed and naff, but, nevertheless, not to do it if one has a decent choir is unthinkable. It's probably just a sign of age, but I've long since ceased to go gooey at the knees when I hear that solo voice. These days my heart sinks. But I'm just a grumpy old b****r. No doubt younger, less jaundiced people still find it fresh and magical.

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What is the point in singing "O Come" at the END? "O go away all ye faithful"? It makes a wonderful opener.

I can see your point, but by the same reasoning we'd have to change the last verse to be "...born tomorrow morning". I feel that the "Yea Lord, we greet thee" verse works well as a climactic moment at the end of the service and prefer to keep a sense of unfolding drama a little longer at the beginning.

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I can see your point, but by the same reasoning we'd have to change the last verse to be "...born tomorrow morning". I feel that the "Yea Lord, we greet thee" verse works well as a climactic moment at the end of the service and prefer to keep a sense of unfolding drama a little longer at the beginning.

 

If they simply changed that line to: "Born on Christmas morning" that would solve the problem.

 

FF

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What is the point in singing "O Come" at the END? "O go away all ye faithful"? It makes a wonderful opener.

It may indeed make a wonderful opener, but its use at the end of service is no less valid. The 3rd line of the first verse makes all clear, "O come ye to Bethlehem".

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Given the amount of artictic licence in carols generally, I can't really see the point in being picky about "born this happy morning". :)

 

Hear hear

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If they simply changed that line to: "Born on Christmas morning" that would solve the problem.

 

FF

 

Or even "born THAT happy morning" which is quite often done...

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Ooh! May we know exactly what this means?

Martin

 

By all means.

 

We sing vv 1-5 as we process round the church to the crib. Then we bless the crib, and as it is incensed we get the Hallelujah Chorus. When the incensing is finished, we process back around the church, and the Handel is drawn to a close when we reverence the altar. VV 6-7 are then sung while the altar is being incensed. Then the Mass proper begins.

 

It's all rather splendid, though some might think it OTT. But then Midnight Mass is a good time to allow a little OTT! :)

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For many years I have favoured Once in Royal David's City as the opener for a Carol Service - as at King's Cambridge - and O Come, all ye Faithful to open Midnight Mass. Here, we sing the first five verses during the procession to the Crib, followed by the blessing of the Crib, and then the sixth and seventh verses while the altar is being incensed. Lyndon likes to use an extract from the Hallelujah Chorus as a fanfare before verse six.

 

Local customs aside, I do think that O Come, all ye Faithful is liturgically more fitting as a processional.

 

I would agree with this. This year, here at the Minster, we are throwing caution to the wind; we are beginning our carol service with Jesus Christ the apple tree (Poston), with the congregation then joining in for the singing of O come, all ye faithful (without the last verse). I have always thought that it made a better processional than having Hark the herald angels sing, immediately followed by O come, all ye faithful at the end of a carol service. However, at Midnight Mass it does make sense to try to time singing the verse which begins 'Yea, Lord, we greet thee' as close to 00h00 as possible.

 

On a side-note, if one has to have Once in royal David's city, then I much prefer the Cleobury descant to the Willcocks, which I have always regarded as somewhat weak, repetitive and four-square.

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