Red SA Carol Books - do you venture into the unknown??

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by WoodenFlugel, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Last night we did our first full carolling job - as in bash out carols from the red book for 3 hours while no-one listens. Anyway we did our normal tactic of working through the book playing a mixture of the well known ones plus some of the less well known carols. After a while one of our newer signings commented that he'd never played anything but the well known Christmas carols - which probably account for less than half of the pieces in the SA red carol books.

    So... that got me thinking - are we in a minority by playing the odd carol that isn't known by all and sundry or do you all venture "off piste" every now and then? There are some gems in that carol book so it seems a shame to never play them. And if you do - what are the best ones you've found in there? Answers please....
  2. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member


    The latter version of "The Brightest and Best" was played today, but that was the only deviation.

    Does anyone else do "Il Est Ne?" It's a regular for us.
  3. TuTuKu

    TuTuKu Active Member

    We only really play the unknown ones when warming up at rehearsals

    When caroling I suppose people expect to hear the carols they know... however monotonous they are for us to play!
  4. Sellers_Bird

    Sellers_Bird Active Member

    sweet chiming christmas bells for every time!
  5. davidsait

    davidsait Member

    Oh yes - enjoy playing some of the others, including 66 (The 'Test Piece' carol), O Come Immanuel, Hark the Glad Sound, Sweet Chiming Christmas Bells, and Angels Sing Again.

    Someone here must have done a sponsored carol playing and done the book end to end?
  6. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    We do a several of the less well-known carols.

    I have to say, however, that some of the arrangements in the new book are a bit 'fussy'. Whoever arranged 12 days of Christmas was on something. I know they had to save space, but that is such a maze it's almost impossible to follow. :)
  7. Janet Watkins

    Janet Watkins Member

    This is a regular for us also.

    A couple of years ago while playing outside Tescos (other supermarkets also available) we attracted the attention of a young Frenchman. As a mark of respect we hastily found "Il Est Ne" to make him feel at home. Unfortunately it didn't seem to ring any bells with him! :-?

    If we are feeling brave, we have been known to try the more secular songs such as "Christmas Song", "Winter Wonderland", "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" etc.

  8. brass journo

    brass journo Member

    we always like to venture into the unknown and for some real excitement we play 32, 33, 34 segued one into the other! we know how to party in our band!!
  9. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    We just played "Rockin' Carol" the other least that's what I think it was called. It was pretty good.

    One of the things I have noticed here is that there is a different set of salvation army carol books in the UK. I don't know if you have the same ones that we use in American here as well, but our band (WGC) chooses to use the arranged for band version instead of the arranged for ensemble version.

    Let me explain. In the books I caroled in back home the books were labeled:
    Part I (Bb)
    Part I (Eb)
    Part II (Bb)
    Part II (Eb)
    Part III (Bb)
    Part III (Eb)
    Part IV (Bb)
    Part IV (Eb)
    Part V - Optional (Bb)
    Part V - Optional (Eb)
    Part V would be like euphonium descants or what not.

    What this allowed us to do is to play a carol 4 times.
    First time as an entire ensemble, second time just high brass, third time just low brass and fourth time all together. This helped break up the monotony and gave everybody some little extra breathers.

    Now, I'd imagine that this could be done with the arranged for band books, but you will need to test it first as I think for some tunes the melody may mysteriously disappear when only the low brass play.
  10. winterman

    winterman Member

  11. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Is the test piece carol the one with the silent beat?
  12. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    Winter Wonderland is ace we have it in the same piece as White Christmas.
  13. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    Being ex SA, I think I've played them all at least once whilst carolling. :p This year, however, I've avoided carolling (due to lack of band)!
  14. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member

    Yup. We play this every year (it's a tradition) at our Annual Christmas Concert. We know it as Hail Smiling Morn. Every year someone in the audience sings in that silent beat!

  15. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    Does anyone do 'Oh Holy Night' (number 62)? If not, try it, and scare your baritone players into the process - it'll be fun!!

  16. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    We do this. And funnily enough call it the test-piece hymn too :S
  17. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I suppose I should've said which ones we do...:-?

    Well, Sweet Chiming Bells and it's near relative Sweet Chiming Christmas Bells are big favorites, As are Angels Sing Again and A Virgin Most Pure (I'm not going to comment any further in the title of that, but its a very pretty carol) and I'm a bit suprised no-one has mentioned Calypso Carol - which is just pure class :)

    There are loads more but I can't remember them at the moment - maybe after I've played them for the 50 000th time I'll remember their titles.
  18. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Here's a BOCcing question - does anyone know all the numbers yet?

    I knew every one of the old green books off by heart and still call them out accidentally when I have a senior moment (which is far too often).:rolleyes:
  19. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I know quite a few of the red SA carol book numbers by heart, Mike! :)

    I quite like Gabriel's Message, (no. 28) but without the extra octave in the basses. Works better as a quartet.

    My wish is that these hymn and carol books for band would stop pandering to the 'brass bands only like flat keys' diktat. Some of them sound just so dull in (concert) G flat major or D flat major. And why is We Wish You A Merry Christmas in Gb? Most choirs sing it in Bb! ((perfectly acceptable for bands, I'd have thought!) Brass bands of all levels CAN play in sharp keys occasionally, you know!
  20. Smiffy

    Smiffy Member

    Ever since we have had the "Red SA Books" we have just worked our way through?.....the modern ones at the back and the more orignal at the front all take pride of place as we work through the sessions....can't say we have played all of them...but they all all there and we give them a go....have good xmas carolling sessions folks! regards...mike