work details

Ring Out, Ye Bells!

  • Instrumentation: SATB and chamber orchestra (2222-2200-perc-timp-harp-strings)
  • Completed: May 2020
  • Duration: 10 minutes
  • Texts: On the poem "Christmas Carol" by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
  • Commission and Dedication:

    Commissioned by St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church (Cincinnati, Ohio)
    Trevor Kroeger, Director of Music
    and Dedicated to the Reverend Barry Windholtz,
    and his twenty years of service to the Church.

  • Instrumentation:

    2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in Bb, 2 Bassoons
    2 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in Bb
    Percussion (Glockenspiel), Timpani, Harp
    Mixed Chorus and Strings

  • Text:

    “Christmas Carol”
    by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

       Ring out, ye bells!
       All Nature swells
    With gladness at the wondrous story,—
       The world was lorn,
       But Christ is born
    To change our sadness into glory.

       Sing, earthlings, sing!
       To-night a King
    Hath come from heaven's high throne to bless us.
       The outstretched hand
       O'er all the land
    Is raised in pity to caress us.

       Come at his call;
       Be joyful all;
    Away with mourning and with sadness!
       The heavenly choir
       With holy fire
    Their voices raise in songs of gladness.

       The darkness breaks
       And Dawn awakes,
    Her cheeks suffused with youthful blushes.
       The rocks and stones
       In holy tones
    Are singing sweeter than the thrushes.

       Then why should we
       In silence be,
    When Nature lends her voice to praises;
       When heaven and earth
       Proclaim the truth
    Of Him for whom that lone star blazes?

       No, be not still,
       But with a will
    Strike all your harps and set them ringing;
       On hill and heath
       Let every breath
    Throw all its power into singing!

  • Composer's Note:

    When Trevor Kroeger approached me with the desire to create a new celebratory work for the Christmas season, in honor of the Revered Barry Windholtz, I was quite excited. And when we decided on the text to Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Christmas Carol,” I was even more so. The imagery inherent in the text—bells, harps, singing, and holy fire—could not be more conducive to song.

    I wrote this work in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has served as a beacon of life and light, for a time when we might all gather again together and sing once more, in joy, affirmation, and hope for a better world.

    This work was commissioned by St. Rose of Lima Church, Trevor Kroeger, Director of Music, and it is dedicated to Father Barry.

  • Performances: