This Is Jesus' Birthday

Difficulty
Moderate radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_unchecked radio_button_unchecked
Season
Voicing(s)
Instrumental Only?
No
Description
  • Text Source: Shaker, adapted by Carol Mc,Clure
  • Tune Source: Shaker, Pleasant Hill, 1854
  • Vocal Part(s): Unison (opt. canon)
  • Vocal Range: d-f’
  • Key: F major
  • Meter: 2/4
  • Accompanying Instruments: a cappella

Target Age Group: Grades 3-6

Description: This Is Jesus’ Birthday is a fast-paced, jubilant anthem culminating in a canonical presentation of the final stanza. One of six Shaker source anthems offered in the Viva Voce 2011-2012 curriculum, this a cappella setting is an ideal choral introit for a children’s Christmas Eve service. It works well being sung antiphonally or by the choristers filling the nave of the sanctuary.

Anthem Warm-Ups

  • bars 5-6: “Sing praise to God” (Bb-F-D-Bb) – intervallic tuning
  • bars 13-14: “With joyful songs His” (F-Bb-Bb-D-F) – intervallic tuning slow unmetered singing of the melody for absolute pitch accuracy

Teaching Points

  • Rhythm/Meter: Singing 16th notes in 2/4 meter; rhythmic exactitude between the two parts singing the canonical refrain; executing a dance-like feel in 2/4, not over-emphasizing the second beat of each bar
  • Tuning: Tuning reliability singing an a cappella anthem; tuning intervals between the two parts singing the canonical refrain
  • Music History: Learning about early Shaker tunes and texts
  • Music History/Style Exploration: Listening to/watching a variety of choral performances of Shaker music
Audio
Lyrics

This is Jesus' birthday, sing a song of gladness!
All in heaven and earth say, Gone be sin and sadness!
God has sent his son to cheer the meek and lowly,
Join us as we come to see the Child most holy.

This is Jesus' birthday, journey to the manger!
Love has come to earth, may no one be love's stranger.
God has sent his son so we might be forgiven
Sing out, Glory, glory to our Lord in heaven.

This is Jesus' birthday, sing a song of gladness!
All in heaven and earth say, Gone be sin and sadness!
God has sent his son to cheer the meek and lowly
Join us as we come to see the Child most holy:
This is Jesus' birthday.