Order MusicReport a PerformanceLicensing & Permissions
WorksChoral MusicMixed ChorusThe Babe of Bethlehem (arr.)

The Babe of Bethlehem (arr.)

Voicing: SATB div., a cappella
Text and tune: William Walker
Duration: 6 min.
Commissioned by: The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists
Dedication: To Matthew Culloton, for his faith and dedication.
Premiere: Dec 4, 2004; The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists; Saint Paul, MN
See the score: PREVIEW THE SCORE (pdf)
Published by: Abbie Betinis Music Co., AB-031-01
Order now: Online order form

Or download the mp3 sample.
As recorded by The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists; Matthew Culloton, conductor. Self-produced E-2754. 2004. Purchase here


Abbie Betinis, commissioned by The Singers to provide an arrangement for this inaugural concert, chose to arrange William Walker's shapenote tune, The Babe of Bethlehem. She beautifully reworked this simple melody into vintage Betinis: shifting chords, many meters, and colorful moods. Follow along with the text and see how Abbie crafted her exciting arrangement perfectly around the story.

- Matthew Culloton, 2004

The following text is from William Walker's Southern Harmony, first printed in New Haven, Connecticut in 1835, and revised several times since. Two beautiful additional verses also exist but are not included in this arrangement.

The Babe of Bethlehem
1. Ye nations all, on you I call,
Come heed this declaration,
And don't refuse this glorious news
of Jesus and salvation;
To royal Jews came first the news
Of Christ the great Messiah,
As was foretold by prophets old,
Isaiah Jeremiah.

2. To Abraham the promise came,
And to his seed forever,
A light to shine in Isaac's line,
By scripture we discover;
Hail, promised morn! The saviour born,
The glorious Mediator,
God's blessed Word made flesh and blood,        
Assumed the human nature.

3. His parents poor in earthly store,
To entertain the stranger
They found no bed to lay his head,
but in a lowly manger;
No royal things, as used by kings,
were seen by those that found him,
But in the hay the stranger lay,
with swaddling bands around him.

4. On this same night a glorious light
to shepherds there appeared,
Bright angels came in shining flame,
they saw and greatly feared;
The angels said, "Be not afraid,
although we much alarm you,
We do appear good news to bear,
as now we will inform you."

5. "The city's name is Bethlehem,
in which God hath appointed,
This glorious morn a Saviour's born,
for him God hath anointed;
By this you'll know, if you will go,
to see this little stranger,
His lovely charms in Mary's arms,
both lying in a manger."

6. When this was said, straightway was made
a glorious sound from heaven!
Each flaming tongue an anthem sung,
"To you a Saviour's given!"
In Jesus' name, the glorious theme,
we elevate our voices,
At Jesus' birth be peace on earth,
meanwhile all heav'n rejoices!

Sing Hallelujah!

By William Walker (1809-1875). This text is in the public domain and may be reprinted from this website for use in concert programs and for promotional use as related to this musical work.

Performed by:

Atlanta Singers (David Morrow), Georgia
Heartland Voices (John G. Slawson), Illinois
Madrigalia (Roger Wilhelm), New York
The Oriana Consort (Walter Chapin), Massachusetts
The Philadelphia Singers (David Hayes), Pennsylvania
Seattle Choral Company (Fred Coleman), Washington
The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists (Matthew Culloton), Minnesota
New Amsterdam Singers (Clara Longstreth), New York
Palmdale High School Choir (Michael McCullough), California

(Have you performed this piece? Add your performance!)