work details

A Yuletide Carol

An Ancient Celebration of Dance and Divination

  • Instrumentation: SATB and tambourine
  • Completed: October 2021
  • Duration: 4 1/2 minutes
  • Texts: On an original poem by Kyle Conner
  • Commission:

    Commissioned by the Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia

  • Text:

    Yule Carol
    An Ancient Celebration of Dance and Divination
    In 6/8

    Good tidings!

    Light the candles!

    Raise the spirits!

                                                    OOOoooooOOOoo!!

    Shed a light!

    Spirit bright!

                                                    Don’t wander far!

    Peace be upon you!

    And your ken!

                                                    Stay close to the fire!

    Let us celebrate!

    Precious light!

    YULE!
    Y-U-L-E ! ! !
    Y—U—L—E  !!!

    We-sing-Yule-to-night
    Watch-the-log-burn-bright
    Spi-rits-walk-up-right
    Sha-ding-death-with-life

    Yule is the joy of the All-As-One
    Stoking the revelry just begun
    Offering songs to the setting sun
    Calling the past into momentum

    Y-U-L-E ! ! 

    See-er-tell-us-true
    Fu-tures-that-you-view
    What-rid-dles-can-you
    Spell-for-our-com-mune?

    Now ancestor’s spirits walk hand in hand
    Sowing the air of the dormant land
    Inhaling night and exhaling day
    What is the magical seed?
    We say:

    Y-U-L-E !

    Mys-t’ries-we-behold
    Now-til-time-un-told
    Cir-cle-round-the-fire
    Lift-our-vi-sion-high’r

    A sacred vigil this longest night
    Clarifies vision of second sight
    Holding realities side by side
    This is the wonder we call Yuletide!

    Y-U-L-E!

    Join-us-in-this-dance
    Find-our-in-ner-trance
    Make-we-in-this-place
    Joy-un-to-our-grace

    Unblinking eye of Eternal Time
    Fixes the mystery in its rime
    In frozen moment revealèd all
    Ten thousand mysteries in our thrall

    Y-U-L-E !

    Nature slumbers deep
    Seasons in its sleep
    We dream greenest fields
    For our crops to yield

    Spirits-move-about
    Nat’ral-law-they-flout!
    We-wield-ancient-wyrd
    Come, Sun, quell our fear!

    Fire the image of light divine
    Sparking together in dance and wine
    Joy is our answer to darkest hour
    Dancing the circle we call our power:

    YULE-BEING!-Thee-we-praise
    For-green-shoots-to-raise!
    Ma-gic-let’s-us-see
    Pos-si-bi-li-ty!

    Spirits now to rest
    At Time’s grave request
    Sunlight scatters all
    Spectral caterwauls

    YULE!   Y-U-L-E ! !

    We-take-plea-sure-now
    Toast-ing-gods-and-plough
    Sing-ing-praise-to-thou
    Na-ture’s-green-est-bough

    Yule-brings-spe-cial-sight
    To-this-long-est-night
    May-you-live-in-peace
    Joy-and-love-in-crease!

    (Calls of “Yule!” race like flickering flames among the chorus fading to whispers no less intense. Chorus raises arms in final salutation to the rising sun as the celebration ends.)

  • Performances:
    • December 11, 2021 (premiere) - 4pm and 7:30pm
      Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia
      Dominick DiOrio, conductor
      St. Paul's Episcopal Church - Chestnut Hill - Philadelphia, PA