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Holiday Pops Music ~
CHAMBER Orchestra & Chorus



“The Holly and the Ivy”

(An arrangement of the traditional English carol)

See Description, Instrumentation, and Text Info at bottom of page.



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SCORE SAMPLES (coming soon)

SCORING:  SATB (some divisi), acc. by chamber orchestra* and organ obbligato
* See the “Instrumentation” tab below.

AUDIENCE:  Suitable for a concert or church setting — DURATION:  ca. 3:30

DIFFICULTY FOR CHORUS:  2/5  —  DIFFICULTY FOR ORCHESTRA:  3/5

PDF PRICE:  $125  /  HOW TO PLACE AN ORDER

NOTE:  This arrangement is also available with organ-only accompaniment.



This is a charming and gently-flowing arrangement, set in the easy-going key of A-flat.

The woodwinds are featured frequently throughout the piece, but the organ also has an important part to play!

For most of the piece, the organ softly backs up the chorus. But after the choir sings “The playing of the merry organ” for the final time, the organ unexpectedly interrupts the piece with a surprise quote from Bach's “In Dulci Jubilo” (BWV 729), giving a humorous touch of literalism to the words.

CHOIR:  SATB (some divisi)

WOODWINDS:  1 Flute (doubles on Piccolo), 1 Oboe, 1 Clarinet in Bb,
1 Bassoon

BRASS:  1 Horn

PERCUSSION:  1 percussionist on the following instruments:  Glockenspiel, Chimes, Suspended Cymbal, Triangle

HARP:  1 Harp

KEYBOARD:  Organ  (Note: For this piece, a real organ is required instead of a synth organ.)

STRINGS:  4,4,2,2,1, but the violins could be reduced to 3,3 or even 2,2

The Holly and the Ivy

Traditional English text

Complete text:

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.

      The rising of the sun,
      And the running of the deer,
      The playing of the merry organ,
      Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as the lily flow'r,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Savior.
      (Refrain)

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.
      (Refrain)

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.
      (Refrain)

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas day in the morn.
      (Refrain)

Watch video below!