Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sing we of 19 Days till Christmas!

A French carol for today, "Noël nouvelet" which again I found through choir music. This one dates back to highschool, I think. The tune is lively to match the joyful lyrics. I present the original french lyrics because the English version "Sing we All of Christmas" has many variations on the lyrics (and I happened to find the below video which blew me away!). However, included below are the literal translations of each verse.

The picture today is of some of the music I'll be singing for my choir concert "Lully Lullay" though you can also see my blue marker "war wound" from babysitting an almost two year old this morning.

Noël nouvelet, Noël chantons ici,
Dévotes gens, crions à Dieu merci !

          New Christmas, Christmas we sing here,
          Devout people, let us shout our thanks to God!

Chorus :
Chantons Noël pour le Roi nouvelet ! (bis)
Noël nouvelet, Noël chantons ici !

          Let us sing Christmas for the new King! (repeat)
          New Christmas, Christmas we sing here.

L'ange disait! pasteurs partez d'ici!
En Bethléem trouverez l'angelet.

          The angel said! Shepherds leave this place!
          In Bethlehem you'll find the little angel.

En Bethléem, étant tous réunis,
Trouvèrent l'enfant, Joseph, Marie aussi.

          In Bethlehem, all united,
          Were found the child, Joseph, and Mary too.

Bientôt, les Rois, par l'étoile éclaircis,
A Bethléem vinrent une matinée.

          Soon, the Kings, by the bright star
          To Bethlehem came one morning.

L'un partait l'or; l'autre l'encens bem;
L'étable alors au Paradis semblait.

          One brought gold, the other priceless incense;
          The stable thus seemed like Heaven.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rejoice for only 20 Days Remain till Christmas!

The for carol for today "Good Christian Men Rejoice" is far more well known than the last few I posted. However, most people don't know past the first verse. And it is a beautiful song. We're singing it in our choir concert on Sunday.

The picture for today is of our "joy men" decorations. I'm not sure if I've posted a picture of them before, but this year their home is on the piano. A fitting place because joy is oft expressed through singing.

1. Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say:
Jesus Christ is born today;
Ox and ass before Him bow,
And He is in the manger now.
Christ is born today.
Christ is born today.

2. Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart and soul and voice!
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Jesus Christ was born for this;
He has opened heaven's door,
And man is blest for evermore.
Christ was born for this.
Christ was born for this.

3. Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart and soul and voice!
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Jesus Christ was born to save;
Calls you one and calls you all,
To win His everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save.
Christ was born to save.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lying Low for 21 more days till Christmas!

Only time for a quick post tonight before bed. The carol is "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" which is slightly more known than the previous three I posted, but it's a gorgeous, Polish carol to sing. Again, my mom and I sang it last year as a duet for caroling.

The picture is of my dog, Sandy, doing her usual annual routine of sleeping on the tree skirt until we finally wrap it around the base of the tree. Funnily enough, she doesn't dare touch it then. What a scaredy-cat we have for a dog. But she's cute alright!

Infant holy, infant lowly,
For His bed a cattle stall;
Oxen lowing, little knowing
Christ, the babe, is Lord of all.
Swift are winging, angels singing,
Noels ringing, tidings bringing:
Christ the babe is Lord of all.

Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping
Vigil till the morning new
Saw the glory, heard the story,
Tidings of a gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow,
Praises voicing greet the morrow:
Christ the babe was born for you.

A beautiful arrangement of the carol:

Rest while waiting for the remaining 22 days till Christmas

Tonight I spent a few hours working at the local OCC distribution center. Towards the end of my four hour shift, our group uncovered four boxes wrapped in paper that was literally "hand" painted. Judging by the size of the hand prints, it was most likely done by the children of the family. Four very lucky children are going to receive these beautiful gifts.

The carol for today is "Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head". It's a beautiful Appalachian song which my mom and I sung for caroling last year as a duet. I love the haunting melody in the minor key.

Jesus, Jesus, rest your head.
You has got a manger bed.
All the evil folk on earth
Sleep in feathers at their birth.
Jesus, Jesus, rest your head.
You has got a manger bed.

1. Have you heard about our Jesus?
Have you heard about his fate?
How his mammy went to the stable
On that Christmas Eve so late?
Winds were blowing, cows were lowing,
Stars were glowing, glowing, glowing. [Refrain]

2. To the manger came the Wise Men.
Bringing from hin and yon,
For the mother and the father,
And the blessed little Son.
Milkmaids left their fields and flocks
And sat beside the ass and ox. [Refrain]

(This is an old recording, so sorry for the bad quality of sound, but it was the most expressive version I could find even though the soloist is slightly flat and under pitch on the higher notes...)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

23 Days till Christmas! How Great Our Joy!

And the title of today's carol is in the post title - "How Great Our Joy". I was first introduced to this song back in high school when my choir went caroling. This traditional German carol was one of our staples during our events.

The picture today is of a decoration staple in my room. Aren't jingle bells joyful sounding?

1. While by the sheep we watched at night,
Glad tidings brought an angel bright.


How great our joy! Great our joy!
Joy, joy, joy! Joy, joy, joy!
Praise we the Lord in heaven on high!
Praise we the Lord in heaven on high!

2. There shall be born, so He did say,
In Bethlehem a Child today.


3. There shall the Child lie in a stall,
This Child who shall redeem us all.


4. This gift of God we’ll cherish well,
That ever joy our hearts shall fill.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Masters, There are Only 24 Days till Christmas!

Upon this the first day of December I present to you the first of many pictures thusly proffered for your amusement. But enough with the speech from of old. It is time to announce my little twist on the countdown this year.

At the end of last year's countdown, I thought of the many Christmas carols which are beloved but highly obscured by crowd favorites like Jingle Bells and Joy to the World. So, I thought to explore the less widely known carols at a pace of one a day. The carol for today is "Masters in this Hall". I sang it years ago when I participated in a Madrigal dinner. We processed in on this song. I don't think we sang all twelve verses, but we did sing quite a few. This song sketches out the Christmas story from the point of view of a poor man who accompanies the shepherds to Bethlehem.

The picture today is of my first Christmas present which arrived earlier today. Presents feature largely in the Christmas season nowadays, but few remember that it started with the greatest gift of all: a baby.

1. Masters in this Hall,
    Hear ye news to-day
Brought from over sea,
    And ever I you pray:
Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
    Nowell, sing we clear!
Holpen are all folk on earth,
    Born is God's son so dear:
Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
    Nowell, sing we loud!
God to-day hath poor folk raised
    And cast a-down the proud.
2. Going o'er the hills,
    Through the milk-white snow,
Heard I ewes bleat
    While the wind did blow: Chorus
3. Shepherds many an one
    Sat among the sheep,
No man spake more word
    Than they had been asleep: Chorus
4. Quoth I, "Fellows mine,
    Why this guise sit ye?
Making but dull cheer,
    Shepherds though ye be? Chorus
5. "Shepherds should of right
    Leap and dance and sing,
Thus to see ye sit,
    Is a right strange thing": Chorus
6. Quoth these fellows then,
    "To Bethlem town we go,
To see a mighty lord
    Lie in manger low": Chorus
7. "How name ye this lord,
    Shepherds?' then said I,
"Very God," they said,
    "Come from Heaven high": Chorus
8. Then to Bethlem town
    We went two and two,
And in a sorry place
    Heard the oxen low: Chorus
9. Therein did we see
    A sweet and goodly may
And a fair old man,
    Upon the straw she lay: Chorus
10. And a little child
    On her arm had she,
"Wot ye who this is?"
    Said the hinds to me: Chorus
11. Ox and ass him know,
    Kneeling on their knee,
Wondrous joy had I
    This little babe to see: Chorus
12. This is Christ the Lord,
    Masters be ye glad!
Christmas is come in,
    And no folk should be sad: Chorus

And since you probably don't know the tune, you will by the end of this video!

NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 30

It is an odd feeling to sit quietly and watch the clock change from 11:59 to 12:00. No mad dash to update the word count last minute, but rather, a peaceful evening. In fact I played around in a different universe today while playing pathfinders. Out of the six NaNoWriMos I've done, this has been the first early finish of them all. I have enjoyed the break, to be sure. It gave me time to pause and get ready for the heavy posting in the blog this coming month.

However, it doesn't change the fact that the feeling is odd. Perhaps next year I'll be again madly typing away on the 30th except this time aiming for that elusive 60k which I have never hit in one month. This time, once I hit 50k the motivation to continue drained out of me.

But now I know that I can do it. I know that it is possible for me to finish early and force myself to sit down and write that much for that long. Now that I know this, it's time to raise the bar. 2.5k pace next year? In order to finish on the 20th? You bet that I am going to try for it!

Now I'm off to sleep and dream up the first post of the Picture Countdown and to figure out what picture to take. Sweet dreams and I'll see you next year NaNoWriMo!

Until next time.
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