Wednesday 29 June 2016

Behind the scenes: Songs of Christmas

Over the last few months God has surprised Roger by inspiring him to write a collection of Christmas songs. The first stage of this was releasing some sheet music just before Christmas, but the songs have grown and gradually been brought into a collection.

This will be a songbook and CD, containing a mixture of congregational songs in unison, 2 part, 3 part and 4 part anthems.

The track list is as follows:
1. Angels from the realms of glory (SATB)
2. At last we see before our eyes (unison)
3. Behold the great creator (SATB)
4. Celebrate!  For now we see him! (SATB)
5. For to us a child is born (SATB - from the Inn Crowd)
6. Hark, the glad sound (Two parts)
7. It came upon the midnight clear (SAB)
8. O little town of Bethlehem (SATB - from Simeon)
9. Once in royal David's city (unison)
10. On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry (SATB)
11. The Word became flesh (SATB - from Barnabas)
12. To us a child of royal birth (SAA or SAB)
13. Unto us a boy is born (mostly two parts)
14. We sing the song of Christmas (unison)
15. When our God came to earth (two parts)
16. Bonus track - Lord, I want to stop Christmas (two parts)

We've put together some teaser videos for you have a look at - a bit of a preview of some of the new additions to this collections.

Teaser 1 - When our God came to earth, Behold the great creator, Unto us a boy is born

Teaser 2 - At last we see before our eyes, Lord I want to stop Christmas

Teaser 3 - We sing the song of Christmas, Once in Royal David's City

We've been really blessed to have some lovely endorsements:

As soon as you listen to these songs, you feel safe in their sweetness, honesty and melody. They reflect the heart of Roger perfectly. A gentle spirit with a passion for healing and revival, through real people, the real church, a fellowship of grass roots believers, who share a common desire to rest in the grace of a loving God - despite their own circumstances and self confessed inadequacies. I am extremely happy to endorse this work, and hope and pray, as Roger does, that it will be used by God to touch hearts, enhance the real meaning of Christmas, and bring us all together in unity. Keep up the good work Roger.  Christmas is a time to slow down, gather memories and treasure them, and re-connect with a loving God who is waiting to have relationship with us, his children, as much now as ever before.
Chris Eaton, songwriter, father, husband, believer

This album follows in the best of Roger Jones’ music and is refreshingly new and nicely different. He takes many of the traditional Christmas hymns and carols and remodels them delightfully. They are ideal for use in schools as well as in church and will have a wide appeal. There is a good blend of quieter and more vigorous tunes that suit the theme and this adds to the flexibility of their use. I welcome and warmly commend this album.
Bishop Michael Whinney

Christmas has always been associated with singing, ever since Mary first opened her mouth to sing, 'My soul magnifies the Lord!', and the angels first opened theirs to proclaim 'Glory to God in the highest!' In this great selection of songs for Christmas, Roger Jones and his friends have provided us with some excellent new resources for the festive season, taking traditional words and giving them contemporary settings. Much recommended.
Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford

Christmas is a great mission opportunity for local churches to reach out to their neighbourhood and carol singing and carol services are often an important part of that outreach. Songs of Christmas by Roger Jones offers new and accessible resources to enrich our singing of the Christmas story and our celebrating Immanuel, God with us.  Here is something for everyone: new tunes to traditional carols, new songs which draw us into worship and some simple arrangements which pack a big punch. ‘Hark the glad sound’ offers a great new alternative tune to Philip Doddridge’s classic Advent hymn, and ‘The Word became flesh’ is a powerful setting of the prologue to John’s gospel. My particular favourite is ‘Behold the great creator makes himself a house of clay’ – a moving tune to a stunning set of words on the mystery of the incarnation and our response in worship and adoration.  A great resource which will enrich the worship and mission of the local church! 
Chris Ellis, author and teacher on worship and former President of the Baptist Union of GB

If you’re looking for something fresh to sing at Christmas, look no further! Here is exciting new material from the prolific pen of Roger Jones providing choirs, worship groups and congregations with a diverse collection of music for Advent and Christmas. New settings of traditional carols, a couple of Christmas pieces from Roger’s earlier musicals and a wealth of brand new carols and songs provide widely varied resources suitable for solo, congregational, two-part or SATB choirs.  Accompaniments range from worship band to piano and organ and all the material is marked by Roger’s renowned inimitable tunefulness and singability.  I warmly welcome this publication and hope that it will be widely used to celebrate the wonder of the Word made flesh.  
The Rev Brian Hoare, former President of the Methodist Conference, hymnwriter, author and composer

In this collection Roger Jones sets a variety of texts, some familiar, some new in a variety of styles, always sensitive to the mood of the text. As always with Roger's music, the music is accessible, with a feel for memorable melody, and often with gently pulsing rhythms. Adult groups will enjoy the songs - but many of them will be very suitable for use with children.  
Geoff Weaver, Royal School of Church Music (RSCM)

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