“Fa la la la la … la la la la.”
Or “Lullay, lullay thou little tiny child.”
Or, perhaps, “O star of wonder! Star of night! Star with royal beauty bright!”
No other holiday has the vast catalog of music as does Christmas. Many of the songs are instantly recognizable – the above scat-singing refrain from “Deck the Hall,” the mother’s lament in the “Coventry Carol” or the celebratory chorus of “We Three Kings.”
And because it’s joyful to gather around and sing out loud these songs of the season, the Elizabethton Star is once again offering a Christmas carols songbook in each copy of today’s newspaper. The 16-page booklet features 14 traditional carols with lyrics and music.
“When I play carols on my piano, I often use a Christmas songbook the Elizabethton Star printed many years ago when I was just a boy,” said Mark A. Stevens, the newspaper’s publisher. “Like so many things at Christmastime, it’s become part of my Christmas holiday to pull out that little book from my piano bench and instantly bring back years of good memories.
“I hope the songbook in today’s newspaper does that for other families and creates new holiday memories.”
The newspaper plans to publish a new volume each Christmas. Volume 1 in today’s newspaper includes well-known carols “Angels From the Realms of Glory,” “Deck the Hall,” “The First Nowell” (printed under its original spelling rather than the more modern “Noel”), “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” We Three Kings,” In The Bleak Midwinter” and “What Child Is This?”
The book also includes age-old carols that may not be as well known to some but have a long connection to the holiday and tell the story of Jesus’ birth.
One of those is the “Coventry Carol,” an ancient carol from the 15th century that is sometimes titled “Lullay Lullay.”
The song is actually a mother’s lament and tells the story of King Herod’s diabolical decree that all children under the age of 2 should be slain after he learned of the Messiah’s birth.
In recent years, the carol has garnered a new popularity with recordings by singers Alison Moyet, Sting and Annie Lennox, among others.
The 16th century carol, “While Shepherds Watched Their Flock by Night,” is included, as are “Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning” and “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light.”
“I hope all these Christmas carols bring happiness to our readers this holiday season,” Stevens said. “From the fun of ‘Deck the Hall’ to the pure elation of ‘Angels From the Realms of Glory’ and to the pull of the season that shines in the lyrics of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter,’ the songs hold special meaning for us all at Christmas. Everyone at the Elizabethton Star hopes these carols make your season a little brighter and little more joyful.”
The songbook is sponsored by several local businesses and organizations: Northeast Credit Union; PMDE Enterprise LLC; Mimi Lucille Boutique; Farm Bureau Insurance; City of Watauga; Margaret W. Moses, CPA; Big John’s Closeouts; Security Federal Bank; Mapes Piano String Co.; Fairhaven Ministries; A New Image Weight Loss Inc. & Spa Services; Farmer Johns Produce; Watauga Baptist Bible College; The UPS Store; Life Care Center of Elizabethton; and Best Portraits and Photography.