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Anderson: “A Christmas Festival”

The son of Swedish immigrants, Leroy Anderson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1908. He studied composition at Harvard University under Walter Piston and Georges Enesco, directed the Harvard University Band from 1931–35, and served as arranger and orchestrator for the Boston Pops. He enjoyed increased fame and celebrity beginning in 1945 with The Syncopated Clock. By the 1950s he was conducting his own orchestras in popular recordings that included Blue Tango, Plink, Plank, Plunk!, and Belle of the Ball.

His arrangements and compositions often included unusual percussion effects. A mechanical typewriter can be heard in The Typewriter, and sandpaper is used in Sandpaper Ballet to imitate the sounds of soft-shoe dancers. A Christmas Festival, written for the Boston Pops in 1950, is one of his most celebrated works, as is Sleigh Ride, which was actually composed during a July heat wave, and likewise uses some especially festive percussion instruments.

   —Jeffrey Thomas

[CHORUS]
Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

[ORCHESTRA]
Deck the halls…
God rest you merry gentlemen…
Good King Wenceslas…

[CHORUS]
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King;

[AUDIENCE & CHORUS]
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled:
Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies,
With th’angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.
   Hark! The herald angels sing
   Glory to the newborn King.

[CHORUS]
Silent night, Holy night,
All is calm, All is bright;
Round yon virgin Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

[CHORUS]
Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go, laughing all the way
Bells on bob tails ring, making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight

[AUDIENCE ONLY]
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride, in a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh

[CHORUS ONLY]
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride, in a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh

[AUDIENCE AND CHORUS]
O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the King of Angels:
   O come let us adore him,
   Christ the Lord!

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