Sacred Music Studies
Year 1 - December

Let's keep the goal for December simple:

Let's use sacred music to help prepare our hearts for Christmas.

We'll learn Adeste Fideles so we're ready for Midnight Mass, but we'll also stay in the season of Advent by praying and singing the "O Antiphons." 

To make things easy, I made a schedule for December that is hopefully more useful and doable, with links to everything for each week. Please see the "Four Week Basic Schedule" further down. Only do what you feel called to do!

But First....
Special Information - Don't Miss:
  • O Antiphons! Everything you need for each "O Antiphon" is in this email. I'm learning these for the first time, too! :-) The Antiphon of the day will also be included in the last 7 Spiritual Christmas Crib emails
  • Click here to view and print a document I compiled that includes all of the "O Antiphon" Gregorian scores, links to YouTube to hear the chants, and the recommended readings of the day. If you'd rather sing in English, click here for the same Gregorian melody that has been adapted to an English translation. 

Four Week Basic Schedule: Special for December!

Prep - Print out the music for Adeste Fideles.

Week 1 - 2  Introduce Adeste Fideles and its history. Listen to the audio, and sing along. 
OR Sing pp. 5-9 from "Stories of Redemption in Chant" as preparation for young children. 
Weeks 3 - 4 - Continue playing Advent music during the day. Learn about the "O Antiphons." (Personally, I will use these when I pray Vespers. Using the ancient chants will make the last seven Vespers before Christmas extra special. I will probably sing the "O Antiphon" of the day to my children in the mornings, and do the readings with them, too. (The Google doc I made makes this easy!) There is also this beautiful family Christmas Novena that uses the "O Antiphons", too. 

December 17: O Sapientia
December 18: O Adonai
December 19: O Radix Jesse 
December 20: O Clavis David 
December 21: O Oriens 
December 22: O Rex Gentium
December 23: O Emmanuel
(Did you notice that the Gregorian chant melody is the same throughout?)

December 24: Belt out Adeste Fideles after Midnight Mass!! :-)
Merry Christmas! May the Divine Babe of Bethlehem bless you!
Adeste Fideles
John Francis Wade (1711 – 1786)

Historians have had a difficult time finding who the true author(s) of the Latin text and music is (are), but we're going to go with the findings that show that John Francis Wade is indeed the author of both. Read the biography of this Catholic layman, and the history of the hymn.
St. Gregory Hymnal (1920) score shown above (Source: It is the first hymn listed.

Sheet music with English and Latin (Source:

Recording in Latin - (on Spotify, which is free to use; you can log in with Facebook)

Audio of Organ Accompaniment (YouTube)

Latin Text:

Adeste, fideles, laeti triumphantes;
Venite, venite in Bethlehem:
Natum videte Regem Angelorum:

Venite, adoremus, Venite, adoremus,
Venite, adoremus, Dominum.

En grege relicto, humiles ad cunas
Vocati pastores approperant:
Et nos ovanti gradu festinebus:

Aeterni Parentis splendorem aternum
Velatum sub carne videbimus:
Deum infantem panis involutum:

Pro nobis egenum et foeno cubantem
Piis foveamus amplexibus:
Sic nos amantem quis non redamaret?

English Text - Translation by Fr. Frederick Oakeley:
  1. Oh, come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
    Oh, come ye, oh, come ye, to Bethlehem.
    Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;
    • Refrain:
      Oh, come, let us adore Him, oh, come, let us adore Him,
      Oh come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
  3. True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
  4. Lo, He abhors not the Virgin's womb;
  5. Son of the Father, begotten, not created. R. Oh come.
  7. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
    Oh, sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above!
    Glory to God, all glory in the highest; R. Oh come.
  9. Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
    Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n;
    Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing; R. Oh come.
More Sacred Music to Listen to and Enjoy:

Great Antiphons of Advent: A Playlist on YouTube of all the antiphons for Dec. 17-24

Chant Propers for the Extraordinary Form (CCWatershed) - Be sure to listen to the Introit for the first Sunday of Advent! Ad te levavi has such a memorable opening. It's the Introit that starts off a new Liturgical year!

Connect on the Google+ Community

I started a Google+ community for these studies. This has great potential for being a place to: 1) discuss the music we are learning each month, and 2) share our learning experiences with others. I think it would be helpful if Q&A, interesting facts found, or other helpful information could be easily seen and discussed by all.  Think of it as an online study and support group. 

Let's enjoy this learning experience together!

If you are new to Google+,  here's a great tutorial on getting started
Sacred Music Study Group
Sacred Music Study Group
Optional Enrichment and Learning
Religious Ideas:
For further learning about sacred music:
Learn to Read Gregorian Chant

This year, we are using "A Gregorian Chant Coloring Book for Children and Adults" by Noel Jones. It is free to download. Here is the Teacher's edition (Same as the coloring book, but with needed explanations for teachers or older students.)

Assignment for December: One page per week 

Are your children too young to learn to read chant? Try singing songs from "Stories of the Redemption for Children in Chant". Free audio is available for each song. Your littles will easily become familiar with numerous Gregorian modes. Some of the songs are PERFECT for Advent and Christmas!

Can't read chant? No problem!

This is the book we are using this year to learn how to read Gregorian chant. You can download it for free here.  (You have the option to purchase a printed version, but the download is free.) You will also notice that there is a Teacher's version available for free, too!

Once you click "Download," you will need to fill out a simple survey, and then you are led to a page that has ALL the free downloads available by Frog Music Press. 

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND SAVING THIS DOWNLOAD PAGE LINK, so you don't have to fill out the survey again. (A lesson learned from experience!)

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