“Once in Royal David’s City”—Christmas anthem for SAB voices, alto solo, violin (or flute), and piano; words by Cecil Frances Alexander; music by Henry J. Gauntlett, arranged by Evelyn R. Larter.
Here is an opportunity to experience a traditional Christmas carol made new! The beloved carol “Once in Royal David’s City” takes on a whole new feel as you sing this contemplative, jazz-like arrangement.
The alto soloist sets the style for the choir as she sings the first stanza. The choir leads in singing stanza 2 with the soloist joining on the last phrase. Your accompanist and instrumentalist have an opportunity to shine during the interlude at measures 32-42. After a modulation, the choir and soloist join together in singing a beautiful “duet” as the soloist weaves in and around the choral parts. Consider inviting a liturgical dancer to choreograph a dance solo during the instrumental interlude. Mary and Joseph could enter the worship space during this interlude as a part of a Christmas pageant
Performance options include asking a boy alto to sing the first stanza to model the tradition from the English Lessons and Carols. Stanza 2, sung a cappella, would be effective as the response to the reading of the Christmas scripture.
Appropriate Days: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Christmastide, seasonal concerts, Christmas pageants.