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Will carols die out?

GUEST,FloraG 14 Dec 12 - 03:53 AM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Dec 12 - 04:04 AM
Ron Davies 14 Dec 12 - 07:53 AM
GUEST 14 Dec 12 - 08:43 AM
DMcG 14 Dec 12 - 08:48 AM
Nigel Parsons 14 Dec 12 - 10:11 AM
Rog Peek 14 Dec 12 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,CS 14 Dec 12 - 12:28 PM
Tattie Bogle 14 Dec 12 - 12:36 PM
Rog Peek 14 Dec 12 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Eliza 14 Dec 12 - 02:41 PM
GUEST 14 Dec 12 - 02:57 PM
Gurney 14 Dec 12 - 03:09 PM
Weasel 14 Dec 12 - 06:51 PM
JohnB 14 Dec 12 - 10:36 PM
mikesamwild 15 Dec 12 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Tony 15 Dec 12 - 10:40 AM
Marje 15 Dec 12 - 10:58 AM
Genie 15 Dec 12 - 06:05 PM
Ebbie 15 Dec 12 - 08:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Dec 12 - 09:31 PM
mikesamwild 16 Dec 12 - 06:00 AM
GUEST 16 Dec 12 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Eliza 16 Dec 12 - 06:10 AM
Tootler 16 Dec 12 - 08:33 AM
Will Fly 16 Dec 12 - 10:03 AM
Marje 16 Dec 12 - 10:46 AM
Bonzo3legs 16 Dec 12 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Eliza 16 Dec 12 - 10:56 AM
dick greenhaus 16 Dec 12 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Eliza 16 Dec 12 - 12:47 PM
Paul Davenport 16 Dec 12 - 04:33 PM
Janie 16 Dec 12 - 07:13 PM
Rara Avis 16 Dec 12 - 07:58 PM
Artful Codger 16 Dec 12 - 08:10 PM
Janie 16 Dec 12 - 08:57 PM
Fossil 16 Dec 12 - 09:00 PM
Janie 16 Dec 12 - 09:01 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 16 Dec 12 - 09:44 PM
Ron Davies 17 Dec 12 - 12:43 AM
Allan Conn 17 Dec 12 - 02:19 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 Dec 12 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,FloraG 17 Dec 12 - 03:49 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 Dec 12 - 04:39 AM
GUEST 17 Dec 12 - 06:15 AM
mikesamwild 17 Dec 12 - 06:48 AM
GUEST,FloraG 18 Dec 12 - 04:20 AM
Ron Davies 18 Dec 12 - 04:39 AM
Rob Naylor 18 Dec 12 - 04:47 AM
Ron Davies 18 Dec 12 - 04:50 AM
Mr Red 18 Dec 12 - 04:53 AM
Ron Davies 18 Dec 12 - 05:11 AM
MMario 18 Dec 12 - 05:48 AM
Rob Naylor 18 Dec 12 - 05:21 PM
Mr Red 19 Dec 12 - 11:30 AM
Desert Dancer 20 Dec 12 - 11:53 PM
Ron Davies 21 Dec 12 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Patsy 22 Dec 12 - 10:29 AM
Paul Davenport 22 Dec 12 - 11:00 AM
Claire M 22 Dec 12 - 11:27 AM
Ron Davies 23 Dec 12 - 08:59 AM
Tattie Bogle 23 Dec 12 - 05:02 PM
Janie 23 Dec 12 - 07:02 PM
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Subject: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 03:53 AM

At the Christmas lunch of the dancing club, we led some carols and the majority of the over 50s knew the words and tunes and joined in. It made me wonder if this will be the case with the next generation?
Will they miss out on ( religious or other ) the chance at enjoying collective singing.
FlorG


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 04:04 AM

Very few people under thirty know any carols.
"We wish you a merry Christmas" is about the limit.

(Likewise any hymns really. Church weddings and funerals show this up.)


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 07:53 AM

I have of course no idea of actual conditions in the UK. But I would think that as long as the UK continues to have a vibrant tradition of choral singing, carols will not die out.    I've read that about 5% of the UK population attend church regularly.    In the US it's higher, though I don't know how high.   On the other hand you do have the wonderful tradition of the carol sings in Sheffield, etc.    People need not be believers to want to sing carols--all they need is a desire to sing together.

Religious music itself will also never die out---for the excellent reason that it is by common consent the best music by far ever in Western culture.

As for under-30's, I can only say that for instance all 3 of my under-30 nieces in Arlington VA love to sing carols--and know quite a few. Not by heart, but very few people know many carols by heart--especially after the first verse.    I do, but I also lead an SATB door-to-door carol sing in my area--this year the 21st year in a row.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 08:43 AM

Like so many other things, its a complex picture. There are very few people over thirty who know the local carols: with the exception of a few places like Sheffield and parts of Derbyshire, the only carols most people know are the ones on the mass media. The under thirties have all been discouraged from activities that take them door-to-door, like carol siging, because of a perceived risk - which for some reason isn't perceived for trick-or-treating. So the set of carols and who signs them certainly changes over time. Then there is the whole professionalism thing: people are frequently discouraged from singing, because they are told they are not good enough. And there is the obvious point that while manufacturers can produce tat in abundance for Christmas and Halloween, the direct sales opportunities for carols are limited, so 'the market' hasn't much interest.

But I think this paints too black a picture. There are certainly the groups like Ron refers to, in the UK and the US. Many places and organisations still run carol services: my wife was at one for the NHS staff in Hampshire only last week, and there are civic concerts in my town, as well as church events. There is, perhaps, a trend for carols, like so much of music, to be something you sit and listen to, rather than something you do, but the ones I referred to in the last sentence are about 50-50 listen and participate.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: DMcG
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 08:48 AM

Soorry, the GUEST above was me


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 10:11 AM

Memories of the recent University Challenge, where students were unable to identify well-known hymn tunes played by a colliery band: Here


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Rog Peek
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 12:06 PM

It certainly seems to me that in the UK, the tradition of youngsters 'carol' singing at doors coming up to Christamas has died out. They still come singing, but two lines of 'We wish you a merry Christmas' and they're knocking on the door with their hand out. I remember learning carols by heart, and would sing all the verses, even when the door opened and I was asked to continue. Furthermore, I might ease the letter box open to improve the chance of being heard, but would never knock on the door. I believe that most youngsters today who come singing at the door cannot be bothered to put in the effort to learn carols or even to equip themselves with a hymn sheet and a torch. Sorry to sound like an old codger, but I do lament the loss of this tradition.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 12:28 PM

"It certainly seems to me that in the UK, the tradition of youngsters 'carol' singing at doors coming up to Christamas has died out. They still come singing, but two lines of 'We wish you a merry Christmas' and they're knocking on the door with their hand out."

Rog, that was the case when I was a kid, thirty plus years ago. We'd get the two lines, they'd trail off as soon as the door was opened and the hand waiting for silver coin was already outstretched. Dunno what the state of carolling is today, we don't get uninvited late callers often - perhaps because the front of the house - being the kitchen for us - is usually unlit.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 12:36 PM

The decline in numbers of young people knowing carols (and hymns)is probably not only down to falling church attendances but also the demise of the daily school assembly at which such things were sung. When my kids were at school (they are now 35 and 29) they did still have an annual carol service just before Christmas, but the sort of songs they learned in school music lessons often were "songs from the shows" or pop songs rather than any of those that came up on University Challenge!


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Rog Peek
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 02:05 PM

CS, I'm talking amost 50 years ago! Things must have deteriorted quicker than I'd thought.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 02:41 PM

I know I keep harping on about our lovely village, but there is always a group of carol singers who come round just before Christmas. They sing all the verses, and carry lamps (no street lights here). The money goes to charity. Also, our Church carol service is on Sunday, candlelit at 6.30pm. To get a seat, you have to be there about 40 mins early, or it's standing room only. At our Ladies' Group last Wednesday, we finished with lots of carols. Our hostess accompanied us on her electric organ, plus some handbell-ringers. We all knew all the words of course. Carols are alive and well here in the depths of Norfolk!


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 02:57 PM

Not round Sheffield the local carol sessions of South Yorkshire carols in various venuesare packed out from the weekend after Armistice day to New Year


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Gurney
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 03:09 PM

I think Christmas is on the way out, as a celebration of Christ's birth.
I'm in a different culture from most of you, New Zealand, but there was recently considerable celebration of a Hindu festival, but I've not yet seen a Nativity display. Nor heard any carols.
Lots and lots of Santa Claus, which was originally about Christian charity, and has nowadays come to mean only commerce.


The only charity I've seen is charity bins in supermarkets.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Weasel
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 06:51 PM

One of the problems that I've seen in England is that in the junior schools where most of us were first introduced to carols, many of them now use pre-recorded backing tracks of modern jazzy Christmas songs. This wouldn't be a problem if they all used the same ones, but each school has its own favourites so that there's no set canon such as we had.

I remember a wonderful evening in the college bar where we sang all night. The only things we all knew were Christmas Carols and rugby songs. We finished up singing carols all round the campus. It was October. I'm not sure such an event could happen now.

Cheers,

Weasel


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: JohnB
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 10:36 PM

Not while we are around, look up the thread I just started about Christmas Carols on Soundcloud, it has an hours worth of mostly Sheffield Carols. As sung by a Canadian "mostly" Morris Dance group.
JohnB (one of those English sort of Canadians)


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: mikesamwild
Date: 15 Dec 12 - 07:48 AM

Jon Boden is running a workshop on Carols and House Visiting songs today at Underbank in Loxley valley and youngsters are getting into it like we did in the 60s so it looks healthy round Sheffield


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 15 Dec 12 - 10:40 AM

It's part of a general trend toward specialization. Thousands of things formerly done by everyone are now done only by a few, and the rest of us pay (or endure commercials) to watch it or have it done by someone else. Eventually we'll be hiring trained TV-watchers to tell us about the latest episode of "Days of Our Lives."


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Marje
Date: 15 Dec 12 - 10:58 AM

I agree with Ron - the strong tradition of choral singing in the UK will keep a core repertoire of carols alive. Folk clubs and events also make a contribution, but anyone who sings in any sort of choir - even an ad hoc choir assembled just for some Christmas function - will soon become familiar with carols, even if they don't normally go near a church.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Genie
Date: 15 Dec 12 - 06:05 PM

I think another big reason for so many people under 40 or 50 not knowing the old familiar carols or other hymns is the church-music-as-big-business phenomenon. It's not totally new, as there have been professional composers and songwriters writing hymns and Christmas songs for many years. But I think in recent decades the "contemporary Christian" and "Christian rock" music industry has replaced a LOT of the hymn- and carol-singing in Christian churches with contemporary "praise choruses" and Christmas songs, partly because musical tastes change, but in large part also because nobody makes much money by churches continuing to sing "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" and "In The Garden."   
Also, AM and FM radio tend to play pop "Christmas" songs more than carols, generally not focusing on Christmas as a religious holiday.

I don't think carols will really die out. I imagine "Silent Night" will be around for a long time. But as some of the older favorites fall out of favor, new ones (even if they're old songs) will get sung more often.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Dec 12 - 08:30 PM

Wow. In the US I've never even heard of coins being given to carolers, much less carolers sticking their hands out for it. When did that begin?

Question: Is anyone in the US familiar with such a practice?


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Dec 12 - 09:31 PM

Hardly likely.

Young people often seem to spend a few years imagining they are radically different from their parents, doing completely different things. Eventually they turn into near replicas, doing more or less the same things - making cakes, gardening, complaining about young people. And singing carols.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: mikesamwild
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 06:00 AM

Ebbi, at this time of year house visiting to do a ceremonial activity like sing carols, perform a plough play, old horse, old ram, sword dance etc etc were accompanied by gifts. Wassailing was an early ceremony with saxon antecedents probably. All about good luck, temporary misrule all jumbled up with releigion and community cohesion. Trick or treat may be your variant!


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 06:00 AM

Ebbie
caroling for money is fairly old in GB. If you read Thomas Hardy ( late 19c. ) it was the tradition for the village band and singers to go and entertain the people at the big house and be fed afterwards.
In the c.20 in Gb caroling was a bit like trick and treating. The local children would come round and sing a few carols outside the door and if you gave them mince pies or a few coins they went away.
Some groups would do the same for a charity.
Today some people put on xmas shows that include carols and get paid for it. We did one of these at the end of November in an acual church - a mixture of well known folk songs and carols that everybody could join in with, and mulled wine and mince pies during the interval. The church charged £7.50 on the door ( about 10$ ) to raise money for the 12 centuary church as well as enjoy themselves.
I expect the knowledgable people on mudcat can come up with earlier references to people singing carols for money.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 06:10 AM

Was in Wroxham yesterday (a largish village on the Norfolk Broads) and a silver band was playing carols outside Roys store for charity. All the shoppers were stopping to sing to the music. They seemed to know the words. Tonight is our church's Carol Service (nine lessons and carols). As I said before, it will be packed out.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 08:33 AM

I spent yesterday morning in a local shopping centre singing carols with a group from our choir. We were collecting money for a heart charity. We certainly appeared to be giving pleasure to the passers by.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 10:03 AM

Religious music itself will also never die out---for the excellent reason that it is by common consent the best music by far ever in Western culture.

Not by my consent, though.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Marje
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 10:46 AM

I think the tradition of the peasants going around the big houses of the gentry, singing and performing in exchange for some coins or for food and drink, has largely died out in the UK now. Instead, many public performances of carols - even impromptu ones in the street etc - are done alongside a collection tin for some charity.

We used to do a folky "Carol Crawl" around the pubs of Steyning in Sussex, singing/playing a few carols and then moving on to the next pub. People tended to assume we were doing it to raise money for charity, or that if we weren't, we should have been. The idea of doing it just to share an enjoy the music was puzzling to some.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 10:49 AM

I remember playing lesser known carols, and known carols to lesser known tunes at a Christmas function, to be asked why we don't play the "proper tunes" - that is half the problem. The "proper tunes" in many cases are boring as hell.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 10:56 AM

Bonzo, maybe they were played far too slowly? We have a dear old lady who sometimes takes over the organ when our organist is away, and she gets slower and slower until we're nearly asleep. I always get the giggles. The only hymn tune I absoultely hate is The Church's One Foundation. Even the words are a bit weird. But the tune, oh Lord. Even the Almighty probably dozes off.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 12:46 PM

I wonder what today's youth make of "Don we now our gay apparel"


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 12:47 PM

Fa-la-la-la-LAH, fa-la-la-la!


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 04:33 PM

Steve Gardham, Liz and I played at a Christmas Fair on Saturday. We did all of the stuff you would expect our generation to know. The very small children waiting to see Santa were fascinated by the instruments (most people never see a real musical instrument being played) and even joined in at times. There was a genuine atmosphere of appreciation. So, no, even in a very secular situation, traditional carols fitted and were seen by the general public to fit. Its a bit like that, 'no man is an atheist on his deathbed' quote; no one is truly secular at Christmas.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Janie
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 07:13 PM

They won't die out, I don't think, but in the USA, anyway, they are no longer embedded in the psyche of those younger than a certain age as they once were, simply because they are no longer routinely taught in public schools, which no longer have thematic holiday programs that directly reference the Christian aspect of Christmas and the holiday season.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Rara Avis
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 07:58 PM

I haven't seen door-to-door carolers in my town in decades. I suspect it's fallen out of fashion. Or it could be perceived as too dangerous: going up to a stranger's door! Yikes! I don't hear carols either. It's all pop music: Jingle Bell Rock, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and the like.
Two weeks ago I was at a concert presented by the New Jersey Master Chorale and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The music was a combination of carols and sacred songs and it was lovely. Other Christmas concerts I've attended in the past featured mostly Jingle Bell Rock-type songs and a few of the easier carols. It would be a pity to lose the old carols.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 08:10 PM

Eliminating religious carols from schools is highly appropriate, in my opinion: despite the dominance of Christianity in our culture(s), it's high time the beliefs of non-Christians were respected. Paul says, "No one is truly secular at Christmas," but we'd sure like to be given the opportunity!

(...says the man who's involved in the NDDD and Los Pastores projects, and has contributed frequently to various other carol threads--but that was MY CHOICE and no one disinterested is forced to read them.)

When I was a boy, carols were less taught in schools than in our churches and families. I learned most of them singing in Sunday school, in church or when my parents and neighbors would take us carolling--also just from the family singing around the piano. So if there's a decline, keeping religion out of the schools has less to do with it than the passive-participation approach adopted by the churches and so-called Christian families.

This increasing "keep your damn religion to yourself" sentiment of course has had some impact on carolling door-to-door, but since Christmas decorations give a pretty reliable indication of who might be receptive, that can't be the major reason for the carolling decline. Rather, I think it's more attributable to the glut of Christmas music to which we're subjected two or three months every year, from every TV, radio and Muzak system. Hearing carols (particularly when sung by amateurs) is no longer special, it's just one more thing to tolerate.

As for the tradition in the US, in the places I've lived, there was never an expectation for pelf to change hands, and the singers were mostly adults. The singers were just thanked (really, genuine smiles on faces were thanks enough), and occasionally we were invited in for cookies and mulled cider, or were handed a tray of cookies at the door, when the snowy weather made coming inside untenable; we might "treat" our hosts to another song to show our thanks. The last time I carolled (or heard neighborhood carolling) was about twenty years ago--it had grown infrequent by then--when, as part of a (secular) choral group, we went door-to-door between larger sets we performed at some nursing homes (the focal stopover points). It's this communal spirit I miss the most; people nowadays don't realize what they're missing out on, perhaps because it can't be monitized or txted.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Janie
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 08:57 PM

AC, I am merely making an observation that carols are not so widely known or culturally imprinted on younger generations who were not taught them and strongly socialized to them through the process of school acculturation.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Fossil
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 09:00 PM

Our church choir has a tradition of carolling around the rest homes in the Wellington area and it usually seems to be appreciated. But of course, these are old or very old people who usually know the songs and respect them.

I agree with those who feel that the English choral tradition will tend to preserve Christmas carols as a genre, but - to be a bit contentious - I also think that most of the carols you tend to hear while out and about at this season don't actually have a lot to say about Christian theology and aren't really worth preserving on that score alone.

As an aside, I have recently been working in a retail establishment and if I hear "Well, Here it is, Merry Christmas!" by Slade one more time this year, I won't be held responsible!

And as for "contemporary-praise-chorus-anthems" and the Christian music-as-Big-Business thing, couldn't agree more. I play the guitar in our church music groups and have had to play quite a lot of this stuff in recent years. To be fair, some of it is good, some not so good. But both our minister and his assistant are both young, and while both are devout, well educated people, neither have any kind of musical background so tend to be a bit undiscriminating. And there seems to be no end of contemporary authors who are only too pleased to write hymns with new "relevant" politically-correct words, with generally fairly insipid sentiments, which can be fitted to old classic melodies. Oh well, don't get me started!


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Janie
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 09:01 PM

Oops. Hit submit too soon. School was where I learned them for the most part. I'm sure it varied back then, and probably still varies now.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 09:44 PM

Some carols are worth keeping but the whole collection of advent hymns can't die soon enough for me!


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 12:43 AM

"not by my consent though".    OK, Will, you aren't common.    I am, though. I think it's fine to be common and ordinary--and to like a huge array of types of music.

I probably should have specified vocal music, since there is obviously a gigantic body of excellent instrumental music . But as far as Western vocal music, if you include all classical choral religious music, all black and white gospel, Sacred Harp, and all the other folk music which has religious elements, there isn't much vocal music left. Blues and sea chanteys are great--but just the quantity is swamped by all the great religious music.

Obviously it also depends on your own experiences.    I've been in choral groups for a long time and sung quite a bit of wonderful choral music--almost exclusively religious music-- which certainly may prejudice me in favor of it. Some people say that Tallis and Byrd wrote the best vocal music ever produced.

When you add the black gospel, white gospel, Sacred Harp, carols (leaving out wassails?) I have sung, there's no doubt in my mind that the overwhelming majority of the best vocal music is religious. And I'm not alone in this.   It's possible that I might be in the minority on Mudcat--not sure about that- but not in the wider Western world.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 02:19 AM

You know in my 50 odd years I've never seen anyone singing carols from door to door. Maybe it is just this area (Scottish Borders) but I suspect it is more likely to be one of these things that was never particularly prevalent in Scotland and is perhaps more of an English/Welsh tradition. The local primary schools in the town both have choirs though and both choirs sing carols along with other songs at local events. For instance the turning on of the town lights, school concerts, singing at old folk's homes and carol services in various churches. They do a mixture of traditional carols, newer carols and pop songs like "A Spaceman Came Travelling". Fair sized choirs though perhaps like most of these things at schools top heavy on girl participants.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 02:56 AM

Sandy, there are some wonderful, soaring advent hymns.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel , Hills of the North Rejoice, Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending, .......


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 03:49 AM

Ron,
I thought quite a few of the carols were sacrid ( ish ) words put to folk melodies. eg Deck the halls certainly was - a welsh song where the words were improvised by the singer. Any other examples?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 04:39 AM

Many hymns have borrowed traditional melodies, and carols were originally folk songs not church songs.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 06:15 AM

The clientele and management of most pubs don't want the likes of Carol Singers or Mummers.
It's decades since we used to do both around the town pubs in Darlington and Richmond then we tried a few village pubs but even they lost heart. Carols were a part of folk song and if anything stood their ground longer but have gone the same way.
Carols won't die out though.
They'll still be sung in church with a nod to the seasonal festival which Christmas borrowed and they'll still be sung in Derbyshire with a nod to Christianity.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: mikesamwild
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 06:48 AM

There was an interesting programme by The Unthanks on BBC last night about British seasonal traditions it may be possible to get it back online or on catch up. They went from all hallows to Plough Monday and there are some great archive pieces. I recognised some very young friends with black hair from the 60s and 70s shots !!
I read that originally carols were communal dances with song

Incidentally a friend brought a musician,s tune book from the 1860s from Cumbria to the carols at Worrall. Julia Bishop played one on the organ which was a version of the Prodigal Son song.   They were beutifully written out dots and copperplate writing and the chap's name and date were embossed on the front.. The musician was a stonemason and the tunes were mainly sacred so it must have been very signifiant to him and his community. It was got off EBay.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 04:20 AM

Thanks all.
No firm conclusions but a nice thread full of info about regional differences and events and no bad language.
Were getting ready to do a Xmas party tonight for the volunteers of a big local charity - and they always ask for a chunk of carols and lightweight Xmas songs to join in with. For many people I think its the only time in the year they get to do collective singing. The rest of the time we do tune sets and familiar songs so they can mill about and socialise.
Seasons best
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 04:39 AM

Flora--

It turns out the "Good King Wencelas" tune is "Tempus adest floridium", a spring carol of the 16th century.    But in fact the earlier carol is not secular either--there's a strong relgious element to the lyrics.

Also, the folk song book I have states (without any support; it's just a note by the song) that the tune for the German carol "O du froehliche" was originally a Sicilian sailor song.   And it also became "O Sanctissima" in the 16th century--and from there became the German carol which is probably the most well-known version today (at least it seems so).


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 04:47 AM

Religious music itself will also never die out---for the excellent reason that it is by common consent the best music by far ever in Western culture.

I'm with Will Fly here....I don't know where the "common consent" comes from, but that's certainly not my viewpoint! An awful lot of it is just terrible. There's some good stuff and a smaller amount of excellent stuff....a bit like most genres, really.

On the singing front....from being about 7 to being about 11, a group of about 6 of we neighbourhood kids would go round door to door singing carols, sometimes up to about a mile and ah alf away from home, totally unsupervised or escorted by adults. We had official Oxfam collection boxes, and sang all verses of every carol. We collected huge amounts some years.

That seems to have pretty well died out now, but back then the charity collecting opportunities were limited. So far this week I've had in excess of 12 requests to support charities by people running races, or doing abseils or parachute jumps.

I'm not at all bothered if carols die out. As far as I can see "live" singing and playing is alive and well amongst youngsters....the fact that it's not connected to religion is IMO no bad thing.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 04:50 AM

"Wenceslas"    "religious"

I agree, Flora, this has been a delightful and informative thread.   Now it would be great if you could hypnotize the denizens of the lower depths to behave similarly. People can even disagree without having to sink to gutter- language attacks. it's not that hard.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 04:53 AM

Carols are for life not just Christmas.

There are Easter Carols. And if I am not much mistaken carolling was a generic term for singing and dancing - particularly on feast (saints) days.

The modern equivalent in the ever more atheist society is for modern pop music to concentrate on (so called) Christmas hits (OK songs they hope will sell in large quantities).

But apart from the overtly Christian message, what is the difference? The only one that springs to mind is that the average yoof consumes rather than participates. If they participate they hope for commercial success, by and large. But how did churches fund themselves? Tythes, offerings, sales of pieces of the true cross, and pilgrimages to saints shrines, and a lot od Saints days! Apparently at one time there were 5 true examples of Christ's foreskin around Europe according to Bamber Gasgoine (remember him UK'ers?).

If I bemoaned anything it is the money-centric lack of participation.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 05:11 AM

Yeah, I knew "common consent' would be bound to get a rise from some folks on Mudcat. I'm a bad boy for jerking some chains.

But I still suspect, as I stated, that in the wider Western world my assertion is correct.    Consider the variety of types of vocal religious music I listed.

It certainly ain't the kind of thing that lends itself to scientific precision.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: MMario
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 05:48 AM

I'm getting paid for it, and the reason is to sucker in shoppers...but I carol (outdoors) everry weekend between Thanksgiving (US) and Christmas..and I have for 18 years now...

And you know what? *NOW* the local kids who join our cast already know the carols....18 years ago? They hadn't even heard of many of those we sing.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 05:21 PM

But apart from the overtly Christian message, what is the difference? The only one that springs to mind is that the average yoof consumes rather than participates. If they participate they hope for commercial success, by and large.

I don't think that's true at all. Tomorrow night I'll be going to an open mic here in Axminster. There'll be up to 20 people playing and singing, mostly youngsters, with 1 or 2 orld farts like me. Of those 20, maybe 1 or 2 might be "hoping for commercial success". The rest are doing it for the sheer joy. I could go to open mics ore sessions every night of the week here, within 15 minutes drive of my digs, and they'd be crammed out with youngsters. I only stay here 2 nights a week though. In Kent, my permanent home, the sessions I go to are largely more mature people, but there are equally as many venues where youngsters go to make music together. The "oldsters" at some of the sessions I go to moan that there are no youngsters there, but are totally ignorant of the fact thate there half a dozen venues within 20 minutes where youngsters gather to play and sing.

Most of my kids' friends play instruments and/or sing. We're not a particularly musical family and I've only started to take an interest since I took up the guitar about 4 years ago, in my 50s, but I'd say 50-70% of my daughters' friends and about 40% of my sons' play or sing either solo or in scratch bands. Out of wanting to make music, not for commercial success.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Mr Red
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 11:30 AM

Well maybe I am biased by what I hear, being a volunteer at a radio station. In a town with many buskers, some of em barely teenagers, and one or two younger than that.
But making money figures in their calculations (Percentages vary)- the ones I speak to - however much they play for nothing.
I have asked a few of them to compose original tunes for DVDs I am making and they don't ask what it is worth but I usually have already pointed out it is non-commercial.
I have one tune, and it is very good from local yoof. Hoping for more.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 11:53 PM

The curse of carol services – entertainment for 'Christmas tourists' who don't believe what they're singing - Rupert Myers in the Telegraph

Oh come, let ye faithless have their carol service
Even hardline atheists admit Christianity has some good tunes. But the Get Orf Our Carol Services brigade wants to keep us out
-
Peter McGrath in The Guardian.

oy.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 02:42 PM

"Even hardline atheists..."

As I noted earlier, you certainly don't have to be a believer to want to sing Christmas carols;   you just have to want to sing as part of a group.   This is one of many reasons carols will not die out.


QED


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 10:29 AM

I am sure that carol singing will not completely die out. Away in a Manger has always been one of the first original carols most children learn in infant school. The words are simple and the tune is pretty. The range of carols learnt after that possibly depends on whether the schools or choir groups are in a village, market town or city, as far as young people are concerned. It isn't their fault I am suggesting there are less social distractions than there would be in a city. What villages suffers with lack of public transport they gain with uninterrupted use of village halls etc. And the community possibly more involved with each other.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 11:00 AM

I just realised something odd. In UK the tradition of singing carols in pubs is associated with South Yorkshire, and, I believe Cornwall. But I've noticed recently in my Facebook friends that there is now a trend for singing carols in pubs in other parts of the country and it seems that this once very parochial practice is becomijng a national tradition. Dying out? You can't escape them over here!


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Claire M
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 11:27 AM

Hiya,

We had a carol service in my new place. I asked if they knew 'Gaudete'-- a favourite -- & they did it, singing the chorus & la-la-ing the rest (they didn't have the words) I was over the moon. When they said who it was by all my mates turned round to look. Apparently they did a 20min (!) version of same at a later one, which I sadly didn't get to.


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 08:59 AM

Of course it also depends on your definition of carols.   In my SATB impromptu group (we did our house-to-house caroling last night) we define it really loosely.

We do everything from Joy to the World, We 3 Kings, Silent Night (we did one verse in German after the English) O Come All Ye Faithful (one verse in Latin after the English), Gaudete, etc. to I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Carol of the Bells, to Winter Wonderland, White Christmas (including the verse), Jingle Bells (all the verses), I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. etc.    We take all requests and are rarely stumped--last night when I thought we didn't know a request, I was proven wrong.

As far as I'm concerned, entertainment--and inclusion-- is part of the deal. Why not give the folks what they want--and let them sing along to anything seasonal they ask for?


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 05:02 PM

Just back from singing in a church service of carols and lessons, and feel totally uplifted! Yes, carols are alive and well!


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Subject: RE: Will carols die out?
From: Janie
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 07:02 PM

The last time I went caroling was probably 15 years ago. We were a motley and not very harmonious crew due in part to lack of practice and in part due to the fact it was unseasonably cold and dry and vocal cords protested about taking in large gulps of 15F air. We probably should have decided to sing in unison. Hindsight is 20/20, eh? Even so, neighbors seemed to enjoy the idea, if not the performance.

My mother's church youth group often still carols, mostly focusing on the houses of church members who are shut ins, but sometimes caroling throughout a neighborhood, and other churches in her West Virginia community often do the same.

Way back when I was a college student at Marshall University in Huntington, WV, a group of us in the dorm went caroling every season - usually a week before Christmas because we were all soon headed home for the semester break. I don't know how good or bad we sounded, but I do know we saw lots of smiles of delight and offers of hot chocolate and cookies or to step inside and warm ourselves. As it happened, my grandmother lived about 3 miles from campus. She was a night owl. We always finished up at her place. Her brother, my grand uncle Bud, was a cab driver in Huntington. After we were done singing she'd invite us in for warm drinks and snacks and to watch a bit of the Johnny Carson "Late Show." If Bud was working the late shift she'd call him to give us ride back to campus and our dorm. Otherwise, she'd bed us down for the night, feed us tea and donuts in the morning, then we would walk back the next morning.

Wonderful memories.

I'll second what Ron said above. It ain't about religion for all of us. 2 of our group of college carolers referred to in the paragraph above were Jewish - one practicing and one not. I am athiestic, (though not back when I was in college -then, I would have called my self a confused and doubtful Christian.) Thing is, Christmas is not just a religious tradition, it is a cultural tradition in much of western Europe and the American continents.that occurs largely but not exclusively within the context of a largely Christian culture. Before that, the solstices have long been feast days and times of ceremony for cultures around the world, i.e, for humankind.


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