A new song has been chosen as this year’s theme carol for the Church of England Christmas campaign.
Respected conductor and former Kings College singer, Bob Chilcott, has composed and arranged a new interpretation of the beloved carol 'The First Nowell', with a brand new melody, which will form part of the church's focus this Christmas, when they're inviting communities and choirs around the country to ‘Follow The Star: Join The Song’.
The Church’s theme emphasises how singing can bring people closer to God and each other during the Christmas season.
Speaking about the new carol, Bob Chilcott said it has been “an absolute thrill” to take part in the campaign.
“I have aimed to make this melody easy to pick up and I hope all will enjoy singing it, at a time of year when the joy of singing is so central to worship and to the celebration of Christmas.”
Choirs interested in participating will receive learning tracks, sheet music, and other helpful materials to prepare and learn the new carol, along with resources to engage with this year's theme.
Chilcott became a full-time composer in 1997, and has produced a large catalogue of music for all types of choirs. His most often performed pieces include Can You Hear Me?, A Little Jazz Mass, Requiem, and a version of the St John's Passion. His music has been widely recorded by leading British choirs and groups including The King’s Singers, King’s College, Cambridge, The Sixteen, Tenebrae and The BBC Singers.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said: “Singing is central to how many of us celebrate Christmas. Around the country – and the world – young and old will gather in churches, schools and concert halls, on high streets, hospital wards and village greens, to hear and sing carols.
“As we gather in worship this Christmas and join the song of the angels, may we all be drawn deeper into the wonder and the truth of Christmas: in the birth of Jesus, God becomes human, heaven embraces earth.”
The carol is published by Oxford University Press and features as part of OUP’s new edition of Carols for Choirs.