John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

  • Music:

Advent 2008: Chanticleer

As you know (and are probably sick of hearing about), I (and 200-some others) recorded a Christmas album a couple of years ago. But what you probably don't know is that in a just world, Welcome All Wonders! would have been the second Christmas album on which I appeared. Back in 1980, First Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, Illinois, issued a Christmas album. At the time, I was a member of the junior high choir, which, as it turns out, was the only one of the many choirs there at the church to not be featured on that album. I believed at the time, and I continue to believe almost 30 years later, that our exclusion from Christmas 1980 was a real slap in the face. OK, yeah, we were probably not very good, but that's totally not the point. The album was intended to showcase the church choirs; we were a church choir; we should have been on the album.

Anyway, this song is called "Chanticleer," adapted from a poem by William Austin and set to music by Richard Wayne Dirksen. And now I'm going to be lazy and quote myself, from a 2003 post about this very song, or more precisely about the poem on which it was based:

What does a rooster have to do with Christmas? William Shakespeare explained it well in act I, scene one of Hamlet:

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:

Shakespeare and Austin were contemporaries, so it's no surprise that they would reference the same legend in their respective works.

Hey, that was way easier than coming up with something original. I should plagiarize myself more often!

Cathedral Choral Society - Chanticleer (MP3, 4.2MB)

Previous Advent posts:

2004: The Three Kings
2005: A Merry Christmas
2006: All Is Calm, All Is Bright
2007: Who are these who ride by starlight
2008: Madonna and Child


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