Renowned Composer Writes Christmas Carol for Church of England’s 2023 Theme

Renowned composer, conductor, and singer Bob Chilcott has written a new Christmas carol which is the centerpiece of this year’s Church of England Christmas theme.

The former Kings College singer composed and arranged a new interpretation of the beloved carol ‘The First Nowell’, with a brand new melody. The new version will be featured this Christmas as the church invites choirs and communities across the nation to “Follow The Star: Join the Singing” for the Church of England’s 2023 theme.

This was disclosed in a news release shared on the website of Collins Column, a writer on music and the editor of Classical Source.

The church’s team focuses on how singing may help people grow closer to God and one another through the journey from advent to Epiphany.

Speaking about the new carol, Bob Chilcott said: “It’s been an absolute thrill for me to be able to write new music for the well-known carol, ‘The First Nowell,’ and to be a part of the ‘Follow the Star’ campaign at Christmas 2023.”

“I have aimed to make this melody easy to pick up and I hope all will enjoy singing it, at a time of year when the joy of singing is so central to worship and to the celebration of Christmas,” he added.

Choirs that are interested in participating will be provided with learning tracks, sheet music, and other useful materials to help them prepare for and learn the new carol, as well as the tools to help them engage with this year’s theme.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York write: “Singing is central to how many of us celebrate Christmas. Around the country – and the world – young and old will gather in churches, schools, and concert halls, on high streets, hospital wards, and village greens, to hear and sing carols.”

“As we gather in worship this Christmas and join the song of the angels, may we all be drawn deeper into the wonder and the truth of Christmas: in the birth of Jesus, God becomes human, heaven embraces the earth.”

The Christmas carol is published by Oxford University Press and features as part of OUP’s new edition of Carols for Choirs.

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