15 Best Christmas Songs For Choirs

20th November 2019

Christmas songs for choirs

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Choirs should be organising songs and practising for concerts in the lead up to Christmas. We’ve pulled together a list of the best Christmas songs for choirs.  


  1. Silent Night

First performed in Austria on Christmas Eve more than 200 years ago, Silent Night has become the best-selling Christmas carol in the world. The song was sung in the World War I trenches during the temporary truce on 24 December 1914 and sang Silent Night on both sides.


  1. Away In A Manger

Away In A Manger was first published in the 19th Century. Since then it has become a popular carol and due to this there are a variety of lyrics available. We have chosen to include the cradle song as this is the standard melody in Britain.


  1. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing was first published in the Hymns and Sacred Poems collections. The hymn was adapted in 1758 by George Whitefield. The hymn was adapted again and the carol that we sing today was first published in 1961 by the Oxford University Press’s Carols for Choirs.


  1. We Wish You A Merry Christmas

We Wish You A Merry Christmas is understood to have been arranged by Arthur Warrell and performed by the University of Bristol Madrigal Singers in December 1935. The original carol used “I” instead of “we”.


  1. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

The song was written by songwriter Johnny Marks based on the 1939 book of the same name by Robert May. It was first recorded by Gene Autry in 1949 and was number 1 in the US charts over Christmas. Interestingly it is rumoured that Autry had to be convinced to sing the song as he did originally reject it.


  1. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Another Christmas song written by Johnny Marks, Rockin’ Around The Christmas tree was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958 at the age of 13, but since then there have been several different versions. The first recording had sold over 25 million copies by its 50th anniversary.


  1. White Christmas

White Christmas is a song written by composer and lyricist Irving Berlin. The 1942 Bing Crosby version of the song became the world’s best-selling single selling more than 50 million copies. The song reminisces about old-fashioned Christmases referencing snow, sleigh bells and Christmas cards.


  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You

All I Want For Christmas Is You is a best-selling modern Christmas song originally sung by Mariah Carey. Released in 1994, the song has been re-released several times since including on a new album, remixes and sung by other artists. The song has inspired a book and a movie.


  1. Winter Wonderland

The song written by Felix Bernard and Richard Smith in 1934 has been covered by more than 200 artists. Winter Wonderland was originally recorded by Richard Himber and his orchestra in 1934 when they had some spare time during a recording session.


  1. Jingle Bells

One of the best known songs, Jingle Bells was first published in 1857. Choirs started to adopt the song in the 1860s and choirs have been singing the song ever since.


  1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Judy Garland introduced the musical Meet Me In St Louis with Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas in 1944. In 1959, Frank Sinatra released an adapted version of the song after requesting revisions to make the song jollier.


  1. O Holy Night

Composed by French composer Adolphe Adam in 1847, and translated into English in 1855, O Holy Night is a timeless carol. O Holy Night has been performed by famous choirs including King’s College, Cambridge as well as artists such as Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole and Andrea Bocelli.


  1. Deck The Halls

Deck The Halls is a Christmas song was first published in 1862 as a Welsh melody alongside English lyrics. The song was originally a Welsh drinking song.


  1. Let It Snow!

Let It Snow! was written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne during a heatwave in Hollywood in July 1945 as they tried to image cooler conditions. The song has been released by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Woody Herman and Conne Boswell.


  1. The Twelve Days Of Christmas

There have been many alternations over time to the Twelve Days Of Christmas song. The original song was thought to have been published in 1780 as a rhyme. The more recent tune was arranged in 1909 out of a folk melody by Frederic Austin who also introduced the five gold rings.