Christmas Choir Season: 15 Festive Choral Treats

Christmas Choir Programs

Fall is upon us which means it's time for choirs to start thinking about their Christmas repertoire for the impending festive season. The good news is, we're here to make the task of planning your Christmas choral programs a little easier. We've perused our Christmas choral catalog and gathered some of our all-time festive bestsellers, alongside some of the hottest new Christmas arrangements for 2019. Our selection covers contemporary pop Christmas titles, songs from Christmas movies, classic Christmas numbers and traditional Christmas carols.

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Mary, Did You Know?

Pentatonix (arr. Roger Emerson)

SATBB | SAB | SSA

First recorded by Christian artist Michael English in 1991, "Mary, Did You Know?" is (in relative terms) a modern Christmas classic. Maybe the best-known version today is courtesy of a cappella royalty, Pentatonix. Roger Emerson's arrangement (with optional piano accompaniment) stays very true to the Pentatonix recording and features the same gorgeous suspensions and lush harmonies throughout.




All I Want for Christmas Is You

Mariah Carey (arr. Mac Huff)

SATB | SAB | SSA | 2-Part

The epitome of the modern-day Christmas classic, Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" has been covered numerous times, featured in a plethora of movies and is the 12th biggest-selling single of all time. Suffice to say, it's a crowd-pleaser. And Mac Huff's arrangement will have your audience hooked from the opening solo to the closing chorus. If you fancy giving the song a go unaccompanied, Roger Emerson's a cappella arrangement is well worth a listen as well.




Christmas in L.A.

Vulfpeck (arr. Mark Brymer)

SATB | SAB | 2-Part | Instrumental Pak

A little Christmas funk never did anyone any harm. Vulfpeck's "Christmas in L.A." will have your audience grooving in their seats. Mark Brymer's upbeat arrangement of this 2015 bop provides something a little different for your Christmas choral program. Syncopated rhythms, gospel-tinged harmonies, and a funky Instrumental Pak. What's not to love?




Santa Tell Me

Ariana Grande (arr. Mac Huff)

SSA | Instrumental Pak

One of the biggest names in pop music right now, Ariana Grande has been churning out hit after hit over the last 18 months. But she's no stranger to a Christmas song as we know from her 2013 EP Christmas Kisses. "Santa Tell Me" is a sassy festive number and Mac Huff's arrangement for female voices captures the playful mood of Grande's original.




That's Christmas to Me

Pentatonix (arr. Mark Brymer)

SATB | SAB | SSAA

Yes, we know this is the second Pentatonix song in our list, but how could we help ourselves? On the group's Christmas album of the same name, this is the sole Pentatonix original – and it doesn't sound out of place amongst the timeless Christmas classics either side of it. Mark Brymer's arrangement can be sung a cappella or with piano accompaniment. And believe us when we say it will give your audience goosebumps.




Where Are You Christmas? (from How the Grinch Stole Christmas)

Faith Hill (arr. Mac Huff)

SATB | SAB | SSA | 2-Part | Instrumental Pak

"Where Are You Christmas?" is the first bonafide movie song in our list, featured in the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This emotive ballad purveys the message that only love can keep the Christmas joy in our hearts. Mac Huff's arrangement only enhances an already beautiful Christmas song. Just don't all fight over the lead solo!




Christmas Children (from Scrooge)

Leslie Bricusse (arr. Mac Huff)

SATB | SAB | 2-Part | Instrumental Pak

Going back another 30 years, one of the most iconic Christmas movies of all-time was released in the shape of Scrooge. Leslie Bricusse is the man behind the song score which accompanies the film and was duly nominated for an Academy Award for his efforts. Arguably the standout song from the film is "Christmas Children," featuring an impactful minor-major modulation from verse to chorus. Another vintage Mac Huff arrangement.




Somewhere in My Memory (from Home Alone)

John Williams (arr. Mark Hayes)

SATB | SAB | SSA | 2-Part | Instrumental Pak

From one iconic Christmas film to another, 1990's Home Alone was so good it spawned not two, not three, but four sequels. The soundtrack to the film came courtesy of John Williams (who, fun fact, currently holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person) and the theme song "Somewhere in My Memory" can be heard in numerous sections of the film. Its simple, heart-warming, arrangement by Mark Hayes might just provoke a few tears.




Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane (arr. Audrey Snyder)

SSA | 3-Part Mixed

It's incredible to think that "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is 75 years old this year. Such a notable anniversary is surely the perfect excuse for your choir to perform the all-time Christmas classic. Audrey Snyder's arrangement has some lovely jazzy touches and is sure to give audiences that warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling.




Joy to the World

Traditional Carol (arr. Heather Sorenson)

SATB | Instrumental Pak

It would be remiss of us not to feature any traditional carols in our list. After all, these are songs that have been sung for centuries – and for good reason. This arrangement takes "Joy to the World" and gives it a tribal flavor. With an abundance of big gospel harmonies and an arrangement that builds to a climactic finale, this could provide a perfect uplifting moment in your choral program.




Coventry Carol

Traditional Carol (arr. Audrey Snyder)

SATB | SSA

"Coventry Carol" (with it's well-known refrain "Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child") is an English carol dating all the way back to the 16th century. Audrey Snyder's delicate arrangement contains some clever textures and key changes which really give this age-old piece a new lease of life. This is sure to capture your audience's full attention.




Christmas Canon of Peace

Johann Pachelbel (arr. Ruth Morris Gray)

SAB | 2-Part

Ruth Morris Gray might just have found the perfect formula with this arrangement. Take one of the most popular classical pieces of all time – Pachelbel's "Canon in D" – and set it to a time-honored Christmas text setting in the shape of the 1863 poem "Christmas Bells" by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. With Ruth Morris Gray's expert choral setting (including an optional descant, which you'll want to include), the result is a beautifully serene number, perfect for your Christmas program.




Glow

Eric Whitacre (arr. Emily Crocker)

SAB | SSA | TBB

Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre is one of the most popular living choral composers and it's easy to see why with his penchant for lush, neo-romantic harmonies and rich choral textures. "Glow" was first performed by the World of Color Honor Choir at Disney's California Adventure® Park six years ago. This moving wintertime song has recently been adapted by Emily Crocker for both men's and women's choirs.




Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (from The Nutcracker)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (arr. Leo Hussain & Ralph Allwood)

SSATB divisi

Looking for something a little challenging to get your teeth into this festive season? Look no further than this a cappella version of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from Tchaikovsky's classic Christmas ballet The Nutcracker. At its climax, this intricate arrangement splits into no less than 13 parts, but if you can pull this one off, it could be the ultimate showstopper for your festive performance.




No Room, No Room

Ruth Morris Gray

SATB | SAB

Another a cappella arrangement worth considering for your Christmas choral program is Ruth Morris Gray's "No Room, No Room." This three or four part arrangement is certainly more approachable than the aforementioned "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," but no less impactful with its lively, percussive setting of the story of the manger in Bethlehem.






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