BEST CHRISTMAS SONGS FOR GOSPEL CHOIR

Most choirs need to prepare special music when Christmas time rolls around. There are some songs that are perennial favorites that we all love. And it’s good to be able to pull out something new once in a while as well.

Here are my picks for the best gospel choir music for the holidays.

You can click on a title to go straight to that song.  With each song I will also give my opinion about how easy or hard each song is for the singers and for the musicians. These difficulty levels are expressed on a scale of 1 to 5, so “1/5” means that a song is very easy, while “5/5” means that it is very challenging. In my opinion, anyway; you’re free to disagree.

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Emmanuel

by Norman Hutchins

Emmanuel

“Come, come let us adore Him, kneel down before Him, worship and adore Him”

This one is a favorite of many choirs. Easy and pretty.

Tempo: Moderate.

Key: Starts in D, then goes to Eb, then E.

Link: Lyrics to Emmanuel.

Link: Chords for Emmanuel.

There is also an accompaniment track available! Emmanuel (Accompaniment Track: Originally Performed by Norman Hutchins)

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 1/5
  • For musicians: 2/5 (because D and E are often not a gospel musician’s favorite keys)

Lead singer required? No.

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Hallelujah!

From the album “Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration”


This is, of course, based on the original Hallelujah Chorus by George Frederick Handel, but it adds a black gospel flavor to it. It still has some places with some classical-style counterpoint, so it’s a challenging piece for gospel choirs to sing. But it definitely makes an impression.

Key of C.

Link: Lyrics to Hallelujah

Link: Sheet music for Hallelujah from Amazon.

Link: Accompaniment track for Hallelujah on CD.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 5/5
  • For musicians: 4/5

Lead singer required? No. On the recording they have Daryl Coley singing lead at the end, but it’s very much optional.

Individual parts for this song (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass) are available from ChoirParts.com: Hallelujah! from ChoirParts.com

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Have You Heard about the Baby?

by Broadway Inspirational Voices


“Have you heard about the baby, the child of Bethlehem?
Have you heard the blessed story, ’twas peace, goodwill toward men?”

This is a gorgeous 4-part a cappella piece that conveys the excitement felt by those who learned about the birth of the Savior. You know how it is when you’ve got some amazing news and you just can’t wait to tell someone? It’s like that.

Tempo: Moderate

Key: Dm

Link: Lyrics to Have You Heard about the Baby?

Link: Practice tracks for Have You Heard about the Baby? from ChoirParts.com (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass)

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 4/5
  • For musicians: N/A

Lead singer required? No.

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Hero

by Kirk Franklin


“You are my hero, you came and saved the day”

OK, you’re probably thinking that I’m nuts for putting this song on a Christmas list. But I think it’s very Christmas. Christmas is about Jesus coming to save the world when no one else could do it. I’ve used this song twice in Christmas concerts.

Tempo: Moderate

Key: C

Link: Lyrics to Hero

Link: Sheet music for Hero, for sale from musicnotes.com.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 4/5
  • For musicians: 4/5

Lead singer required? No.

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Jesus Is the Reason (for the Season)

by Kirk Franklin


“Jesus is the reason
For the season, yeah
Yes He is
Oh yes He is yeah”

This funky tune is a good one for a youth choir if they have the skills. It includes a really nice counterpoint section based on the chorus from “Angels We Have Heard On High”, but it takes some practice to get it right, so don’t try teaching this song at the last minute unless you have a super-sharp choir.

Key of C minor.

Link: Lyrics to Jesus is the Reason.

Link: Chords for Jesus Is the Reason.

Link: Sheet music for Jesus is the Reason, for sale from musicnotes.com.

You can get practice tracks with the separate Soprano, Alto, and Tenor parts for Jesus Is the Reason from ChoirParts.com.

Christwill Music has an accompaniment track for Jesus Is the Reason, available in either CD or MP3 form.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 4/5
  • For musicians: 3/5

Lead singer required? Yes.

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Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child

Traditional


“Jesus, Jesus
Oh what a wonderful child
Jesus, Jesus
So lowly, meek and mild”

A beloved song with a down-home church feel. This one is great as the closing number for a Christmas concert because the congregation can sing along.

The best recorded version of this that I’ve heard is the one by Mariah Carey.

Key: The Mariah Carey version is in the key of F, which would probably work well for most choirs.

Link: Lyrics to Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child.

Link: Chords to Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child. (These chords are in the key of Ab.)

There is also an instrumental version of Jesus, Oh What A Wonderful Child done by the Smooth Jazz All-Stars. It’s not really intended to be an accompaniment track, but it could be used that way if you needed it.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 1/5
  • For musicians: 1/5

Lead singer required? Well, I suppose you could do it without the lead verse, but it’s so much better with it.

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Now Behold the Lamb

by Kirk Franklin


“Now behold the Lamb
The precious Lamb of God
Born into sin that I may live again
The precious Lamb of God”

This is one of my personal favorites. Just a beautiful piece of music that expresses the feeling of reverence and worship that Christmas should be about.

You know how we feel about a newborn baby sometimes, where we just want to sit there and look at him, even if he’s just sleeping? That’s what Christmas is to me. The wonder of just being in the presence of this special child. Just to look at Him. Just to BEHOLD Him.

Key: Bb, then C.

Link: Lyrics to Now Behold the Lamb

Link: Chords to Now Behold the Lamb

Link: Sheet music for Now Behold the Lamb, for sale from musicnotes.com.

Choir practice tracks for Now Behold the Lamb are available from ChoirParts.com:

There are also accompaniment tracks available:

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Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? I suppose so, but I think it goes fine without the verses.

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Oh Bless the Name

by the New Jersey Mass Choir

Oh Bless the Name

From the album Heroes

“Hallelujah, Oh Bless the name of Jesus”
I don’t think this one was written to be a Christmas song, but I like using it for Christmas. Very majestic sounding.
Tempo: Moderately slow.
Key: D minor / F major.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? Yes.

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Still the Lamb

by Mary Mary


“Still holy
Still righteous
Still the Lamb of God”

This song is a whole Christmas pageant all by itself! It has some pretty verses for your lead singer to do solo, plus dramatic spoken word parts for that person in the choir who is called to preach (or maybe have the pastor do it!), and then a chorus for the whole choir.

Link: Lyrics to Still the Lamb.

Key: Ab, then A, then Bb

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 1/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? Definitely.

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Sweet Little Jesus Boy

Traditional


“Sweet little Jesus boy
Born in a manger
Sweet little holy child
We didn’t know who You was”

This version is done by Take 6. A gorgeous rendition of an old Negro spiritual. Our choir does an arrangement that has the general feeling of the Take 6 version, but we don’t try to actually do all of those harmonies.

Key: Eb, then Gb

Link: Lyrics to Sweet Little Jesus Boy.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 5/5 if you try to do it just like Take 6. You can arrange it other ways to make it easier.
  • For musicians: This version is a capella. If you added instruments, the difficulty level would depend on how you arranged it./li>

Lead singer required? Yes.

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When Christ Was Born

by The Apostolic Project


“The angels sang in heaven
The night when Christ was born
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Oh holy night, when Christ was born, Hallelujah”

A sweet, reverent song with an African choral flavor to it. If you have a bongo player, this is his/her song.

“When Christ Was Born” is an original composition of mine! I have another web page that I wrote about it. On that page you can download a demo version of the song for free. Here’s the link: When Christ Was Born — A choir song by Joan Hall.

Key of Ab.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 2/5
  • For musicians: 1/5

Lead singer required? No.

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Use practice tracks to teach your choir!

Make your holiday preparations easier! Practice tracks for some of the songs on this page are available for purchase from ChoirParts.com.

And if you want to request parts for a song, we’ll do a custom job, just for you.

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Good old Christmas carols

Break out the hymnbook!  You’ll find plenty of 4-part arrangements of classic Christmas carols.  For example, in the African-American Heritage Hymnal, there are choir arrangments for about 15 Christmas songs, including favorites like Joy to the World, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Silent Night, and more.


More Gospel Christmas Songs

These are from the BlackGospel.com website.  The list below is NOT all choir songs, a lot of them are solo songs as well. But you may find something that is good for choir or could be adapted.

Christmas song list from blackgospel.com

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