“ ’Neath Starlit Skies” — Christmas anthem for SATB voices, a cappella; words by Grace Stutzman; music by Crawford R. Thoburn.
Three stanzas sing of the joyous alleluias offered by all who witness the Christ child. Stanza one sets the stage in Bethlehem where no room is available for the Holy Family. Stanza two introduces the beasts who behold not only the Child but also the visit of the wise men. Stanza three opens with an abrupt key change moving the tonality from E flat major to G major. The text offers a general blessing as all welcome the infant King.
Vocal parts require solid adult singers with mature ranges. The harmonic structure is traditional with few accidentals interjected for color. The rhythm and 6/8 lilt glide through each stanza. The final three measures include women divisi building through a gradual crescendo.
Performance options include doubling the parts at the keyboard for help in rehearsal or as added stability in worship. The music is written closed score making it easy to follow each part. Stanza one may be used within a Los Posadas service. Stanza three may be used as a benediction.
Appropriate days: Christmas Eve; services in Christmastide; and Lessons and Carols.
Age Level 6-8
Difficulty of vocal parts 7
Difficulty of accompaniment N/A