Babe of Bethlehem, The (arr.)

SATB div., a cappella

This stunning concert arrangement of William Walker's (a.k.a "Singing Billy's") shape-note tune was commissioned for the inaugural concert of The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists in 2004. The simple melody is beautifully reworked into what conductor Matthew Culloton calls "vintage Betinis: shifting chords, multiple meters, and colorful moods." A rousing concert closer, the "Sing Hallelujah!" ending never fails to bring an audience to its feet.


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Order Sheet Music
Catalog Number: 
Commissioned By: 
The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists
Premiere Date: 
Premiere Ensemble: 
The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists
Premiere Conductor: 
Matthew Culloton

Atlanta Singers (David Morrow, cond.), Georgia
Heartland Voices (John G. Slawson, cond.), Illinois
Madrigalia (Roger Wilhelm, cond.), New York
The Oriana Consort (Walter Chapin, cond.), Massachusetts
The Philadelphia Singers (David Hayes, cond.), Pennsylvania
Seattle Choral Company (Fred Coleman, cond.), Washington
The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists (Matthew Culloton, cond.), Minnesota
New Amsterdam Singers (Clara Longstreth, cond.), New York
Palmdale High School Choir (Michael McCullough, cond.), California

Text Author or Source: 
William Walker (1809-1875)

1. Ye nations all, on you I call,
Come heed this declaration,
And don't refuse this glorious news
of Jesus and salvation;
To royal Jews came first the news
Of Christ the great Messiah,
As was foretold by prophets old,
Isaiah Jeremiah.

2. To Abraham the promise came,
And to his seed forever,
A light to shine in Isaac's line,
By scripture we discover;
Hail, promised morn! The saviour born,
The glorious Mediator,
God's blessed Word made flesh and blood,
Assumed the human nature.

3. His parents poor in earthly store,
To entertain the stranger
They found no bed to lay his head,
but in a lowly manger;
No royal things, as used by kings,
were seen by those that found him,
But in the hay the stranger lay,
with swaddling bands around him.

4. On this same night a glorious light
to shepherds there appeared,
Bright angels came in shining flame,
they saw and greatly feared;
The angels said, "Be not afraid,
although we much alarm you,
We do appear good news to bear,
as now we will inform you."

5. "The city's name is Bethlehem,
in which God hath appointed,
This glorious morn a Saviour's born,
for him God hath anointed;
By this you'll know, if you will go,
to see this little stranger,
His lovely charms in Mary's arms,
both lying in a manger."

6. When this was said, straightway was made
a glorious sound from heaven!
Each flaming tongue an anthem sung,
"To you a Saviour's given!"
In Jesus' name, the glorious theme,
we elevate our voices,
At Jesus' birth be peace on earth,
meanwhile all heav'n rejoices!

Sing Hallelujah!

By William Walker (1809-1875). This text is in the public domain and may be reprinted from this website for use in concert programs and for promotional use as related to this musical work.