Catalogue Number -
SSA Choir and Organ
with Optional Handbells
If handbells are not available, organ chimes or another appropriate stop may be used.
Level of Difficulty - Moderate
Concert, Service Anthem, Christmas
Pages Music -
8 pages - 12 page booklet
SSA/organ and handbells choral octavo
Copyright Year - 1989
SSA perusal only
The Native American (Huron) interpretation of Jesus birth where the stable becomes 'a lodge of broken bark', the swaddling clothes are 'a ragged robe of rabbit skin', and the shepherds abiding in their fields are transformed into hunter braves amid the woods, this beautiful text illuminates enchanting images of North American as a context for the Nativity described to the Huron by French missionaries. Halley arranges this text and the 16th century French carol 'Une jeaune pucelle' in a setting of austerity and simple reverence. Optional handbells further evoke the atmosphere of stark winter, with the bell tones ringing in the cold.
Commissioned by the Ottawa Central Choir, Barbara Clark, director.
"Several of the selections feature arrangements and descants by Paul Halley, and it is here that his background in jazz becomes apparent, as the warm and occasionally surprising harmonic progressions lend a fresh and contemporary air to some of the more familiar tunes."
- Jennifer Kolmes, The American Organist Magazine
"The children sing
not only with coherence but with an admirable freshness of sound. Paul
Halley’s imaginative harmonizations are refreshing."
featuring Chorus Angelicus
from 'Christmas Angelicus' CD
Full track below at left
Christmas Angelicus CD
JN103 - Track 5
available in digital format only
Canadian Christmas Hymn 'Jesous Ahatonhia',
Native American (Huron) text by
Jean de Brebeuf (1593-1648)
English text by Jesse Edgar Middleton, 1926
"Twas in the Moon of Wintertime"
'Twas in the moon of wintertime,
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wond'ring hunters heard the hymn:
Jesus your King is born,
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.
Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapped His beauty round;
And as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angelsong rang loud and high:
The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on
The helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before Him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
O children of the forest free,
O Sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy,
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.