Here are some Advent songs to consider as part of your liturgies:
Craig Colson has written a beautiful and simple setting of an Advent Penitential Act. This comes fresh off of his new recording I Am the Way. (WLP) It’s even more effective if you sing his song This Is Your Justice as a gathering/entrance song. The melodies and thematic material are the same for both. It’s a nice way of making the entire Gathering Rite unified for a given Sunday in Advent, or even all four weeks. (get the lead sheet online at voicesasone.com) There is also a flute part for this song. This Is Your Justice can also be found in More Voices As One vol. 2
Even So Come (Come, Lord Jesus) by Tomlin/Ingram/Cates (CCLI) – the verses are really singable in a comfortable range…then the refrain kicks in! It’s definitely on the high-side, but it’s so powerful that your assembly might not care about the range. “Like a bride waiting for her groom, we’ll be a church ready for you!” This could be a new, fresh addition to your repertoire.
Curtis Stephen’s Ready the Way (spiritandsong.com) sings the phrase ‘ready the way’ over and over in a powerful way. We’re so used to hearing ‘prepare the way’ that this slight variation makes it that much more interesting and attractive. I love the melody and the chord changes in this song. It’s enjoyable to sing and play and the assembly can grab hold of it immediately. (get the lead sheet online at spiritandsong.com)
You have to check out Matt Maher (and friends’) (worshiptogether.com) beautiful song Hope Is Dawning. The musical setting of this original text is just powerful…and simple! The sound is fresh, contemporary, and immediately accessible by everyone. Again, I love this song. 🙂 (get the lead sheet online at worshiptogether.com)
Paul Tate and Deanna Light’s Come, Emmanuel (WLP) is a staple in our parish during advent. The way Paul and Deanna have used the melody for ‘Come, Emmanuel’ over and over is genius. The lyrics are great, the chord progressions are beautiful, and the melody is easy to sing. Instrumental parts are available in the Voices As One instrumental books.
If you’re looking for something really upbeat, check out Lorraine Hess and Jaime Dilberto’s Prepare Ye. The assembly will easily be able to sing this refrain, and there’s an assembly part in the verses as well. Your singers will enjoy the harmonies in the chorus and verses. It can also be found in More Voices As One vol. 2
Awake to the Day (WLP) has a piano intro that really sets the tone, and it’s not difficult to play. This song can be played with just piano and or guitar, or with a full band playing out. The assembly sings a recurring ‘We prepare for you, Lord’ in both verses. Feel free to let a cantor sing the first part of the verse while bringing in the assembly on the “we prepares…” and the last couple of phrases. Instrumental parts are available in the Voices As One instrumental books.
Tom Booth’s ‘Find Us Ready’ has powerful lyrics: “Find us ready, Lord, not standing still.” The whole song has a gospel feel to it and is, of course, very accessible…as is all of Tom’s music. This is classic Booth at its best! (get the lead sheet online at spiritandsong.com)
Awake, O Sleeper by Ike Ndolo (spiritandsong) – this song starts simply, building from the beginning. “In the darkest times of life when our lights refuse to shine you are there.” A good medium-tempo song that works great at entrance, offertory, or closing. From the CD We are the Beggars.
Oh, Our Lord by Leonard/Jordan/Baloche (Integrity/EMI) is a good possibility as a Dismissal Song/Song of Thanksgiving that’s not too crazy upbeat, if you’re trying to stay a little more mellow during Advent. Here are some of the lyrics:
We behold the breaking dawn The light that shines over ev’ryone
We look to You, we long for You, oh Lord.
We behold the rising sun, The earth awakes, Your hope has come
We look to You, we long for You, oh Lord
The King Shall Come by Trevor Thomson (spiritandsong) is a beautiful setting of a wonderful text. It can be played stripped-down to just piano or guitar, or with a full band. Careful not to add a ‘groove’ to it. Listen to the use of cymbal swells and orchestral playing in the recording. Let the voices lead.