HOW FAR TO BETHLEHEM?
            






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An all-age collection for Advent/ Christmas
Over many years, Peter Kearney has led many Christmas Family Concerts hosted by Catholic Primary Schools.  This CD compiles many of the songs/ carols that have proved popular and effective at these events. Six of the tracks are Peter Kearney originals; the rest are by other writers, including three songs by Sydney Carter (writer of 'Lord of the Dance').

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Track List- Song on CD
What others have said:
Project History:

TRACK LIST
and notes on the songs

1. How Far is it to Bethlehem? - Also known as the "Children's Nativity Carol'. A beautiful, simple carol from the Oxford Book of Carols that deserves to be as well known as 'Away in a Manger'. The Nativity, seen through the eyes of children as they approach Bethlehem for a visit to the stable.

2. Violet in the Snow - One of the more enduring of contemporary carols. "When it all began, God was so very far away...".

3. Come Love Carolling - Sydney Carter's simple yet profound song. Mary, carrying the baby within her, pondering: "I wonder at the Maker who can be before the world and yet a child of me.".

4. Do You Hear What I Hear? - The message of the Saviour's birth is passed from the humble to the high- from the lamb to the shepherd boy to the mighty king.

5. Christmas Where the Gum Trees Grow - A delightful Australian Christmas Carol by Lesley Davies: "Christmas in Australia's hot, cold and frosty's what it's not."

6. Child of the Morning -  A little known traditional Carol. "Brightest and best is the Child of the Morning- dawn on our darkness...".

7. At Christmas - Based on a poem by a 12 year old child and set to music by Peter Kearney.

8. Mary's Song (The Magnificat) - This song, Peter Kearney's setting of Mary's powerful words, was originally included on the 'Turn It All Around' album. Claire Parkhill sang it then, as he does here in a new recording, joined by her daughter Felicity.

9. The Fourth Wise Man  - This will be enjoyed by all ages- a brilliant, entertaining poem written by Dermot Dorgan. The Fourth Wise Man illustrates the virtue of practical charity... "he brought the really useful gifts the other three forgot".

10. Christmas in the Scrub - Possibly the most popular of all modern Australian Christmas carols. Leigh Newtons catchy song pictures the Australian animals celebrating the birth of God..

11. Joy to the World, Jubilee - Protesting the 'murderous debt' carried by the world's poorest countries.

12. The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy - A West Indian carol with an infectios beat..

13. The Christ Child Lay.  - Lyrics by the famous English writer G.K. Chesterton, set to music by Peter Kearney.  Reflecting the freshness of the new born child and the precious gift he is to a 'weary, weary world'.

14. The Tinsel From Our Eyes - On realising the true meaning of Christmas: "Let us take the tinsel from our eyes- see the kind of day this could be". Written by Peter Kearney.

15. The Tenderest Time - Christmas can be a painful, lonely time for many people. A thoughtful ballad by Peter Kearney.

16. Standing in the Rain. A challenging song by Sydney Carter. The verses are from the point of view of the Innkeeper: "no use knocking on the window, there is nothing we can do sir", while the choruses show Joseph and Mary seeking a welcome in a strange town.

17. Refugee Carol - The Holy Family as refugees - fleeing to Egypt to escape the merciless kingdom of Caesar and Herod.

18. Bread and Fishes. Picturing Joseph, Mary and Jesus as the travel through the world and though the ages: "We have bread and fishes and a jug of red wine to share on our journey with all humankind. Written by English songwriter Allan Bell."

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID- A Compilation

 "The Christmas album is especially magical. I loved ‘How Far to Bethlehem?’! I’ve given both away, so another one please! Thanks and God bless...."

"Beautiful and fresh ... unlike any other Christmas collection. The arrangements are delightful. Your music just keeps getting and better. . Many thanks."

 "I love the crystal simplicity of the title-song, a beautiful way to begin and I can almost hear lots of young voices around the schools taking to this song with great enthusiasm. To the songs/ carols that were already familiar to me you have added your own special style and flavour, so the songs become fresh and new again".

PROJECT HISTORY

Recording:
Recorded at the Little Portion Studio, Welby, 1999. Sound engineering and mixing by Peter Kearney.

Singers:
Claire and Felicity Parkhill, Peter, Clare and Rebecca Michael, Madge Kearney, Peter Kearney.

Music: Peter Kearney

Cover Artwork:
Dorothy Woodward