The Shepherds

Moderately Difficult radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_unchecked
Instrumental Only?
  • Text Writer: Carol Mc,Clure
  • Vocal Part(s): Unison, with opt. 2nd pt. (descant)
  • Vocal Range: B-g sharp’
  • Key: E major
  • Meter: 3/4
  • Accompanying Instruments: Piano (or organ)

This recording is of the SATB version and was recorded and produced by Chorale 21, Korea (in Korean) and is used by kind permission.

Target Age Group: Grades 3-6

Description: The Shepherds is a sweet, charming anthem with beautifully crafted melodic lines (reminiscent of the work of John Rutter) fashioned by Hyun Kook. The whimsical text by Carol McClure is written for use during Christmas. The difficulty level rating is based on the length of the melodic phrases and the octave and a sixth range required for the performance of the anthem.

Anthem Warm-Ups

  • bars 4-5: “So hush’d the night” (singing over the vocal break)
  • bar 10, beats 1-2: “star” (accurate tuning of descending minor 3rd)
  • bar 11-12: “rouse their flocks from sleep” (pitch accuracy)

Teaching Points

  • Rhythm/Meter: Holding dotted quarter notes for full value
  • Vocal Production: Sustaining a lovely unified tone on lower pitches
  • Musical Understanding: Performing 4-bar melodic/rhythmic phrases; singing long lines; shaping phrases
  • Tuning: Singing intervals accurately
  • Music Exploration: Learning about what’s happening chorally in Korea (Dr. Kook’s home)
  • Music History Exploration: Listening to/watching a variety of performances by Korean choirs on You Tube or DVD or CD



So hush'd the night, so still the air
As humble shepherds watched o'er their sheep,
Even the glory of the heavens could not rouse
their flocks from sleep.
But then one voice, one angel voice,
resounded over the hills they strayed,
God's own herald pierced the silence
With the words, "be not afraid!"

Such angel words, from angel voice,
Caught weary shepherds, their lambs and ewes,
By surprise; and so they listened
to the angel's joyous news:
"For unto you is born this day God's Son,
your Savior the Christ, our Lord;
You shall find him in a manger,
Holy Child, by Heaven adored,

Angels sang in the splendor,
Praising God for Jesus' birth,
Sounding, "Glory in the highest,
God's peace to all on earth."
And shepherds, awed by what they heard,
Inspired together by angel bands,
Walked in wonder toward the manger,
That dark night in Bethlehem.

So hushed the night, so still the air
As humble shepherds who sought God's Son
Would, themselves, become the bearers
Of the tidings, "Christ has come."