My Favorite Choral Christmas Pieces
By: Sara Bennett Wealer
Some of my best memories are of singing in choir—especially at Christmas, when there’s so much beautiful music to be performed and enjoyed. Those memories are a big reason why I put my debut novel, RIVAL (HarperTeen, Winter 2011), in a choral setting. My main characters, Brooke and Kathryn, are enemies and opposites, but they share a love of music. I’d like to share that love with you, along with some of my favorite choral Christmas pieces. Maybe you’ll find some new favorites for your holiday playlist.
1. In The Bleak Midwinter
This song just seems to capture the mystery, simplicity and even the melancholy of Christmas. I especially love this particular arrangement.
2. Biebl’s Ave Maria
I don’t think a more beautiful piece of music exists, and this version gives a nice feel for the way the two choirs answer each other. There’s a lot of repetition, so if you’re in a hurry listen to 1:35 and then skip to 4:39. As a soprano, I can tell you there’s nothing more glorious than singing that final “Amen.”
3. The Wassail Song
It’s a classic, and this arrangement is a blast to sing. Here, it’s done by an all-male group. So much fun--and you’ve got to love the “Glee”-esque show choir!
4. What Sweeter Music?
I had this song performed at my December wedding. I just love the melody and what it has to say about the true meaning of Christmas.
5. For Unto Us a Child is Born
Of course, I had to include Handel’s Messiah! You’ve probably heard this song all over the place, but I’m a purist—must have the real deal. And it’s so much fun singing those long vocal runs!
6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
OK, so it’s not a choral piece, but this rendition by Tori Amos is just amazing, and it sums up my wish for all of you. Have yourself a merry, happy holiday, however you celebrate it!
Sara Bennett Wealer grew up in
(the “Little Apple”), where she sang with the show choir and wrote for her high school newspaper. She majored in voice at the Manhattan, Kansas before deciding she had no business trying to make a career as an opera singer and transferred to journalism school. University of Kansas
Sara now lives in
with her husband and two daughters. She still sings when her schedule allows—most recently with the official chorus of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Her debut novel, RIVAL, will be released by HarperTeen in 2011. Cincinnati