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Pop songs in Christmas concert

Discussion in 'Primary' started by katielouisesm, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. katielouisesm

    katielouisesm New commenter

    I work at a community primary school and have just been put in charge of music. I have to arrange songs for both ks1 and ks2 Xmas performances, no 'shows' as such, just singing. In the past the music lead has always bought cds from out of the ark music etc and allocated songs from these (these are songs specifically written by the company so parents don't know them). I'd like to mix it up and have songs parents actually know. Carols are a no no as were not religious so my next best thinking was popular Xmas songs. Can anyone help me with the mine field of licensing on these though?! I've found lots of you tube karaoke versions that we can sing to but unaware of licensing laws even though I've read and read to try and get my mind around it!
  2. Josh7

    Josh7 Occasional commenter


    Christmas songs without religion. Perhaps you should have a Yule or Saturnalia Concert - but those were religious too.

    It's a Winter Concert!

    Sorry, no idea about licensing.

    At our (faith) school the infants always sing songs that the parents don't know & the juniors very few carols - Ding Dong Merrily is about the only known, though last year we did do Joy to the World in a gospel arrangement.

    Surely 12 Days of Christmas must be out of copyright by now. Perhaps your children could rewrite it - "On the first day of Christmas, my partner gave to me, an absurdly big T. V...
  3. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    If you have funds available, sign up for Sing Up. There are lots of lovely songs available - and not just for Christmas. I found it an invaluable resource all year round.No copyright issues to wory about.
  4. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Established commenter

    Would you think I was being particularly annoying and pedantic if I pointed out that there is an argument to be made that there is a difference between carols and Christmas hymns? But anyway...

    I guess it depends exactly on whether your school is not religious in the sense that it doesn't have a religious character or whether it is more that 95% of your children are actively from a faith background which isn't Christian, although I do query why you'd be doing anything Christmas-y in that case anyway.

    Deck the halls isn't particularly religious in its lyrics. There are others which are not majorly religious e.g. I saw three ships (allowing for the fact that Christmas without Jesus is a bit of a contradiction in terms). O Christmas Tree (or you could be multilingual and learn O Tannenbaum instead :)) would be another possibility. I'm sure there are others.

    I can't comment on the licensing rules I'm afraid although if it's public domain (I think Jingle bells falls into this category for example) I think it would be okay, although I'm assuming like books there might be the different lengths of time for different countries but I think it is 70 years from author's death for the UK. I'm not sure how many Christmas pop songs are American though and that probably has different rules. Maybe check whether you have PRS coverage as that might cover you. If you are a LA school or in a MAT there maybe somebody centrally or in another school who could help you. Or you might just go with your predecessor's plan (out of the ark have a section about this on their website) :)

    Just a thought - some if the more famous Christmas songs are really quite hard to sing, so I'd choose carefully if it was me!
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Yep - I've had to play piano for 12 days of Christmas sung by reception children - there had to be a pause between each line while they worked out what was next. And some of the pop songs have a large range and big jumps.

    'Tis true that there are a fair few "carols" which are fairly secular. There's also a case to make for carols as "cultural" rather than "religious". I always wondered about my (non-faith) school's annual carol services for year 7/8 in the local church (during school hours), until I went to one. The (non-religious) HoY kicked off the event by talking about the history of the town, how long the church had been there, pointed out an artwork and explained how it had been brought there, and said that for hundreds of years, people had gathered in this church at Christmas to hear the Christmas story and sing carols.

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