'Tis the season to be jolly as you plan music for Advent! Am I right?!
As all church musicians know, it's never too early to be thinking about Christmas, so today, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite anthems for the Advent season.
15 Favorite Anthems for Advent
The Yearning (Courtney)
Exquisite text and beautiful writing - a lovely expression of hope
Of the Father's Love Begotten (arr. Rouse)
A gorgeous setting of one of my favorite Advent hymns (with a great cello part!). On the more challenging side, but still more than accessible for small church choirs.
How Great Our Joy (Courtney)
A refreshing contrast from the way this carol is typically heard, Craig Courtney treats the text as if the shepherds are captivated by and in awe of the angel's announcement. "How great our joy" becomes a quiet, sacred moment of inward reflection.
What Star Is This? (Althouse)
This anthem (focused on the star) works well for the weeks leading up to Christmas, or for Epiphany.
Sing We Noel (Goemanne)
Upbeat and rhythmic, this is a fun piece to have in the folder at a time of year when we tend to sing more soft, lyrical anthems.
Wake, O My Soul (Danyew)
Okay, I'm a little biased, I know, but I really love this carol-like anthem SD wrote last year. The old hymn text is perfect for a quiet candlelight service, Lessons and Carols, or Christmas Eve.
Thou Who Wast Rich (arr. Molly Ijames)
Tender and thoughtful, this is a lovely setting of a carol written by Frank Houghton in the 1930s. Based on 2 Corinthians 8.
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks (Courtney)
Similar to "How Great Our Joy," this setting features shimmering piano and brilliant chord clusters to depict the glory of that Christmas night. (*Note: It starts with solo men and has some divisi and high tenor parts throughout - may be better suited for a medium-size group with a strong men's section.)
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (Miller)
I love this new setting of the familiar Advent text. Great for youth or adult choirs (or a combined group!), as it's written for SAB.
How Far is it to Bethlehem? (arr. Hayes)
Perfect for the Sundays leading up to Christmas, this is a simple, accessible setting of a lesser-known English carol.
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming (arr. Helvey)
If your choir is not quite ready to sing the original Praetorius version of this piece, or if you're looking for something a little different, this is a great setting with a simple, but elegant piano accompaniment.
Love Came Down at Christmas (Pote)
Great for smaller ensembles or even youth choirs (scored for SAB), this is a lovely setting of one of my favorite Christmas texts - "Love Came Down at Christmas" by Christina Rossetti.
Silent Night (Anglea)
If you're one of those people who's over "Silent Night" by the time we get to Christmas, this arrangement is for you: original text, but new tune and new accompaniment. Win-win.
All Praise to Thee (Hagenberg)
The text of this anthem is based on a chorale by Martin Luther (Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ). Beautiful melody and lyrical writing for SATB choir and piano throughout.
The Wexford Carol (arr. Helvey)
A great arrangement of a Christmas classic, this Irish carol shines with Howard Helvey's sensitive writing for the voice and interesting, yet supportive piano accompaniment.
What are you favorite anthems for Advent? Please share!