Friday, September 29, 2023

The Twelve Days of Christmas


I saw a colored leaf last week, and it finally hit me in the best sort of way that the long, hot summer is coming to an end! Hallelujah! It couldn't arrive soon enough. In choral director lingo, it means something else: "It's time to order holiday music." 

One of my favorite music octavos has an interesting story:  The Twelve Days of Christmas was published by Colla Voce Music in 2007. Unfortunately, when promotions began, my name was spelled incorrectly for some reason, and only those to whom I had sent music ordered it for their choirs. The Lexington (KY) Chamber Chorale sings it annually, and they do a great job of making every day of the twelve come alive!

The arrangement is written in Baroque style, and some days have an interpretive uniqueness: the French hens sing in French (mon amour), the calling birds actually call, geese are squawking, eight maids sing the major scale, nine ladies are dancing, lords are leaping (intervals), pipers pipe when the choir whistles for a few measures, and basses and tenors provide some cool drumming as the 12 drummers. Then....the Baroque factor takes over, and the choir "fa, la, la"s to the end, with a powerful My Love!

This arrangement might be sung by a moderately skilled choir and the most advanced choir. The 12 Days come alive, and my goal was to write an arrangement that didn't seem to last an eternity....though there are 12 days! So...I tried to write something humorous, yet musically challenging.

I have included the notation in this blog, but I regret to say that so far, there is no recording. I am happy to hear your choir sing this octavo. Visit my website, and send an mp3 of your choir entertaining an audience with The Twelve Days of Christmas. It is available for purchase with several distributors:

J. W. Pepper


Take a look at the notation: