from Pantperthog to Knockando

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas Carols Audit 2017 - what are the most popular carols?

From a previous year's
Christmas card audit
Given how popular the Christmas Card Audits are, I've decided to analyse the Christmas services (and other caroling opportunities) I've been to this year. My Dad has also chipped in with service sheets from two services he attended.

I'm going to include set lists for the services. Feel free to scroll to the bottom of the post to find out what the most popular one was. Asterisked songs are ones I don't think I have ever sung before, or heard sung before.

Overall stats
Services audited: 6
Denominational breakdown: 4 Anglican (C of E), 1 Methodist, 1 other

Service: Evening Carol Service, Methodist Church
Total songs: 14 (10 sung by congregation and 4 performed by choirs)
Congregation songs
O Come, O Come Immanuel
O Little Town of Bethlehem
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
In the Bleak Midwinter
Away in a Manger
Silent Night
As, With Gladness, Men of Old*
Cradled in a Manger, Meanly*
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
O Come All Ye Faithful (all 5 verses!)
Choir-performed songs
Carol of the Bells
Mary, Did You Know?
Jesus, Rest Your Head
O Holy Night

Service: football club Carol Service hosted by a C of E church (service sheet from Dad)
Congregation songs
O Come All Ye Faithful
Once in Royal David's City
Joy to the World
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
We Three Kings
Silent Night
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Plus musical interludes/performances
Another Christmas/ Candlelight Carol / Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth/ Carol of the Bells / Jazz Gloria/ Nowell for the Merrie Citie/  Twelve Days After Christmas / O Holy Night

Service: Christingle service, C of E church
Total songs: 6
Congregation songs
O Come All Ye Faithful
Little Donkey
Silent Night
Away in a Manger
Shine Jesus Shine
Performed song
Mary, Did you know?

Service: Midnight communion service, C of E church
Total songs: 4 
Once In Royal David's City
Good Christians All Rejoice
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O Come All Ye Faithful

Service: Midnight Mass, (different) C of E church (service sheet from Dad)
Total songs: 4 
O Come All Ye Faithful
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence*
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Service: Christmas Day service, charismatic 'new' church
Total songs: 5  
Congregation songs
O Come All Ye Faithful
Light of the World, You Stepped Down Into Darkness
Once in Royal David's City
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Performed song
(Video) Light of the World - Lauren Daigle

Conclusion
The most popular sung carol, featuring in the set lists of all six services was O Come All Ye Faithful. In order, the most popular ones were:
1) O Come All Ye Faithful (6 setlists)
2) Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (4)
=3) Once in Royal David's City and Silent Night (3)
=5) Away in a Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem and While Shepherds Watched (2)

In terms of performed songs, I don't know what the musical interludes were like in the football club carol service that Dad attended, and whether the songs were performed in their entirety. So I'm going to base my conclusions on the services I was at. This means 'Mary, Did You Know' was the most popular performed song.

Of note, that two services included non-carols, which I've listed for completeness. There were three weird ones dredged out of the back of old hymnals, although I think 'As, With Gladness, Men of Old' isn't as obscure as the other two.

The Annual Christmas Card Audit is coming. We'll be taking the cards down in the next couple of days. I haven't decided yet whether carol services are going to become an annual auditing subject. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.


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