ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID'S CITY (from Peace On Earth)

I suppose there’s a reason that I’ve never recorded any non-religious holiday songs; even though I love “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (etc.), I guess I’m mostly drawn to songs that speak to the mystery of the Incarnation – the incredible story of God putting on flesh and living among us.

Once In Royal David’s City” is a carol that dates back a little over 150 years. Though it isn’t often recorded, it deserves to be more widely known. It reads like a simple children’s sermon, as if explaining to a small child about Jesus’s birth and early life: “Day by day, like us He grew / He was little, weak and helpless / Tears and smiles like us He knew.”

For the music, I had a very clear idea; I wanted a very percussive guitar paired with a melodic cello and violin arrangement. The goal was to have very simple instrumentation that still felt complete and full.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think, so please comment below!

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3 Responses to ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID'S CITY (from Peace On Earth)

  1. Helen Johnson says:

    Oh, I love this! Beautiful!

  2. Lisa D'Arcangelo says:

    Well, I think you nailed it. I don’t know this song in any other context but your version, and I love it. After reading your blog I listened again and realized that it’s just your voice, the violins and the guitar. It sounds perfect.

  3. Deb Hahn says:

    That’s pretty cool! I’ve only ever heard this one as a choral piece or an orchestral instrumental piece. It’s great how you updated it but not in a way that completely changes it.

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