Top songs for the season

By James Reed
Globe Staff / December 21, 2008
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Today's fifth annual Boston Merry Christmas Caroling Mob is open to singers of all ages, beliefs, and abilities, says organizer Joel Sindelar. Lyrics and music will be provided. Carolers should meet at the Stony Brook T stop on the Orange Line (180 Lamartine St.) in Jamaica Plain at 4 p.m.; the group will start walking at 4:15 and end with a community potluck at 6 p.m. at Spontaneous Celebrations (45 Danforth St.) in JP. For more information, go to

For fledgling carolers who want to start their own groups, we asked Sindelar to share his suggestions for what to sing.

Favorites for caroling in large groups:

"Joy to the World": "The harmonies sound really good with minimal practice."

"Dona Nobis Pacem": "Beautiful, classical round; great message of peace; unusual but still many people know it."

"Deck the Halls": "Merry, but not specifically religious."

"It Came Upon the Midnight Clear": "Really, really pretty tune and harmonies."

"Silent Night": "Emotionally embodies the love between mother and child in the music."

Personal favorites:

"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day": "I resonate strongly with the words by Longfellow."

"The Angel Gabriel": "Beautiful, unusual French carol." (Sting did a good cover on "A Very Special Christmas").

"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel": "Beautiful in a Gregorian way, though pretty depressing."

"White Christmas" and "Let It Snow": "Favorite 'modern' songs, great jazz harmonies."

"We Three Kings": "Favorite gloomy character - see Balthazar's verse about 'sealed in a stone-cold tomb.' "

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