Big Sing: The UK's Top 10 Carols Songs of Praise


Big Sing: The UK's Top 10 Carols

Susan Boyle, Michael Ball and Hayley Westenra join five thousand singers at the Royal Albert Hall as Britain's most popular Christmas carols are revealed.


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You voted in your thousands, and today

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we can reveal the United Kingdom's top 10 Christmas carols.

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5,000 voices will be joined by stars of stage and screen, including

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Susan Boyle, Jonathan and Charlotte, Hayley Westenra and Michael Ball.

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So look out for your favourite carol

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and why not sing along on the Songs Of Praise Big Sing spectacular?

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APPLAUSE

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Thank you very much indeed. Hello.

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Happy Christmas and welcome to a very festive Royal Albert Hall.

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Are you ready to sing some classic Christmas carols?

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AUDIENCE: Yes!

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Thank goodness you said yes!

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Christmas just wouldn't be the same without carols, would it,

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-don't you think?

-AUDIENCE: No!

-And I personally love singing.

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And tonight, we're going to hear the 10 most popular,

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thanks to your votes. I can't wait to find out which is number one.

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Before that, please welcome the stars of our show,

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our Big Sing orchestra, conducted by Paul Leddington Wright.

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APPLAUSE

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And our fabulous choirs, ladies and gentlemen,

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the Adventist Vocal Ensemble, Saint Michael's Singers,

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Brighton Festival Chorus and the Guildford Choral Society.

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APPLAUSE

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Incidentally, your look very festive. Well done.

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So, shall we get going and try something we've never

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attempted on The Big Sing before, singing two carols in one?

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At number 10 and nine in our charts,

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they've been blended together for this special occasion,

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the sublime O Come, O Come Emmanuel and the uplifting Joy To The World.

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# Rejoice! Rejoice!

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# Emmanuel

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APPLAUSE

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Wow, you guys are good! Two carols in one. What a great way to start!

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Well, our next festive favourite, number eight in the top 10,

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was written in 1848 by Cecil Frances Alexander.

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For more than 90 years,

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it's been the carol that a solo chorister sings in

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King's College, Cambridge, to begin

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the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

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It is, of course, Once In Royal David's City.

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Well, to sing it for us tonight,

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a class act who shot to fame on Britain's Got Talent.

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They've been together

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since they sang in church for their teacher's wedding ceremony.

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,

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please welcome Jonathan and Charlotte.

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APPLAUSE

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# Once in royal David's city

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# Stood a lowly cattle shed

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# Where a mother laid her baby

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# In a manger for His bed

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# Mary was that mother mild

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# Jesus Christ, her little child

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# For He is our childhood's pattern

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# Day by day, like us He grew

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# He was little, weak and helpless

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# Tears and smiles like us He knew

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# And He feeleth for our sadness

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# And He shareth in our gladness

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APPLAUSE

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Ah, wasn't that wonderful? Jonathan and Charlotte, ladies and gentlemen.

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Well done, both of you.

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Now then, at number seven, our next Christmas carol for all of us to

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sing is a powerful anthem for peace written by Edmund Sears in 1849.

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Sears wanted humanity to hush the noise

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and to live in peace with one another.

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What a great message, not just for Christmas,

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but for all the year round.

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APPLAUSE

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That was magnificent! Just beautiful.

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Now then, on Christmas Eve, nearly 150 years ago,

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Phillips Brooks stood in a field in Bethlehem,

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surveying the scene close to the spot where Jesus was born.

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He was so inspired that he wrote our next

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carol for the children of his Sunday school to sing.

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Performing a carol that just had to be in the top 10,

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it's our number six.

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Please welcome our star guest, the lovely Hayley Westenra.

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APPLAUSE

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# O little town of Bethlehem

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# How still we see thee lie!

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# Above thy deep and dreamless sleep

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# The silent stars go by

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# Yet in thy dark streets shineth

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# The everlasting light

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# The hopes and fears of all the years

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# Are met in thee tonight

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# How silently, how silently

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# The wondrous Gift is giv'n

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# So God imparts to human hearts

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# The blessings of His Heav'n

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# No ear may hear His coming

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# But in this world of sin

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# Where meek souls will receive Him still

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# The dear Christ enters in

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# Our Lord, Emmanuel! #

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APPLAUSE

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Ladies and gentlemen, Hayley Westenra.

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APPLAUSE

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Well, can you believe we're almost halfway

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through our countdown of the UK's top 10 carols?

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You enjoying yourselves?

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AUDIENCE: Yes!

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Hope you are at home, too.

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You might be surprised this next one isn't the most popular of all.

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It's so widely sung at carol services,

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especially on Christmas Day.

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It's certainly a favourite for many of us,

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so do sing along, especially in the chorus.

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It is O Come, All Ye Faithful.

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APPLAUSE

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Wow, magnificent singing! Well done.

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I'm delighted to introduce our next choir.

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When they're not at school or singing at parish church services,

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they're travelling the world

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and delighting audiences with their unique sound.

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To sing their beautiful interpretation of Silent Night,

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my favourite boy band.

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Please welcome Libera.

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APPLAUSE

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# Silent night

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# Holy night

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# All is calm

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# All is bright

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# Round yon Virgin

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# Mother and child

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# Holy infant

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# So tender and mild

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# Sleep in heavenly peace

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# Sleep in heavenly peace

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# Silent night

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# Holy night

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# Shepherds quake at the sight

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# Glories stream from Heaven afar

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# Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!

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# Christ the Saviour is born

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# Christ the Saviour is born

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# Silent night

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# Holy night

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# Son of God

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# Love's pure light

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# Radiant beams from Thy holy face

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# With the dawn of redeeming grace

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# Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

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# Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth. #

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APPLAUSE

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Libera, ladies and gentlemen. What a sound!

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APPLAUSE

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Well, we've reached the top three carols. How exciting!

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And number three is a carol that combines the talents of two giants

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when it comes to wonderful words and marvellous music.

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In the last century,

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verses penned by prolific hymn writer Charles Wesley

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and music composed by Felix Mendelssohn were brought

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together to produce a timeless classic.

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Let's sing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

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APPLAUSE

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Well, I can feel the excitement

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building as we are down to the final two carols, ladies and gentlemen.

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At number two, a carol written by Christina Rossetti.

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Her beautiful words are linked with music by Gustav Holst and Harold Darke.

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Singing the Holst version of In The Bleak Midwinter,

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please welcome to the Big Sing stage the amazing Susan Boyle.

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APPLAUSE

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# In the bleak midwinter

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# Frosty wind made moan

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# Earth stood hard as iron

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# Water like a stone

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# Snow had fallen, snow on snow

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# Snow on snow

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# In the bleak midwinter

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# Long, long ago

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# Our God, heaven cannot hold him

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# Nor earth sustain

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# Heaven and earth shall flee away

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# When he comes to reign

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# In the bleak midwinter

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# A stable place sufficed

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# The Lord God Almighty

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# Jesus Christ

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# Enough for Him, whom cherubim

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# Worship night and day

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# A breast full of milk

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# And a manger full of hay

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# Enough for Him, whom angels

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# Fall down before

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# The ox and ass and camel

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# Which adore

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# What can I give Him

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# Poor as I am?

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# If I were a shepherd

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# I would bring a lamb

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# If I were a Wise Man

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# I would do my part

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# Yet what I can I give Him?

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# Give my heart. #

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APPLAUSE

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-How did you feel singing it in this building?

-It felt very exciting.

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Very exhilarated. It's my first time here.

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It's your first performance at the Royal Albert Hall?

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My very first time.

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What does Christmas mean to you?

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Christmas means being with my family, being with friends

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and celebrating in a holy and harmonious fashion.

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The church has always played a massive part in your life,

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-hasn't it?

-It's been a very central part of my life.

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-In what way?

-It's a special place of worship

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and you are communicating with God.

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Do you feel that when you are on stage,

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that you are communicating with God in a way as well?

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Very much so. I feel him very much right here, right now.

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Well, we all know about your journey.

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It's been incredible, it really has.

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Apart from being here for the first time,

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what have been some of the highlights for you?

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Travelling the world, making my albums, completing the very first

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concert tour, which I intend to do more of next year.

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And having a ball.

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Ladies and gentlemen, give her a round of applause. Susan Boyle.

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APPLAUSE

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Right, this is it, the time has come.

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We are ready to reveal which carol most people

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voted for as their favourite.

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As it happens, it's not sung often in church services by a congregation.

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We often hear it sung by a soloist or choir.

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And have we got a very special soloist to sing it!

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Star of many a stage musical,

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he presents his own show on Radio 2 and he's lovely, too.

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Please put your hands together for Michael Ball!

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APPLAUSE

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Lovely, lovely. Thank you.

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-Happy Christmas.

-And you.

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It's a silly question, but how much do you love Christmas?

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It's a fantastic time of year.

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It's a time that we look back on our lives as well.

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It's a time to reflect and think about people that we miss

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and haven't seen for a while and think about all the wonderful

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experiences we've had at this time of year. I love it.

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-I absolutely love it.

-Is it always a time of warbling for you?

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Or are you with your feet up in front of the fire?

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Every day is a time of warbling for me.

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I try not to work actually too much over Christmas and get away with the family.

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I try to spend time doing that. In this business, sometimes you have to.

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Sometimes you have to work over Christmas.

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You've sung all over the world, all kinds of music,

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from musical theatre to pop, you name it. You've done the lot.

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What does it feel like that you're singing the nation's favourite carol?

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It's the biggest thrill.

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Also to sing it here, in probably my favourite place to sing.

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-And it is also my favourite carol.

-Oh, it is?

-Absolutely.

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It's the one I voted for. I love it.

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-Do you think we should let them know what it is?

-Absolutely.

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-What is the number one carol, Michael?

-It's O Holy Night. Yeah.

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Beautiful.

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Why do you think it is so special?

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-You must have sung it millions of times.

-I have sung it a lot.

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I think it's because it's not particularly traditional.

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There's a drama to it, there's a thrill to the lyric.

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It's about expectation, about feeling tiny because something

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so enormous is going on.

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It's beautiful and it's got a wonderful melody.

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You look very smart and you are here. So will you sing it for us?

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-You bet. Try and stop me.

-Good.

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-Michael Ball, ladies and gentlemen.

-Cheers, Aled.

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As Michael gets ready to sing it, thank you for joining us.

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I hope you've enjoyed singing along to the UK's top ten carols.

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You can check out the full list on the Songs Of Praise website,

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if you fancy.

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From myself and all of us here, have a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

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# O holy night

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# The stars are brightly shining

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# It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth

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# Long lay the world in sin and error pining

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# Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth

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# The thrill of hope

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# The weary soul rejoices

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# For yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn

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# Fall on your knees

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# O hear the angel voices

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# O night divine!

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# O night, when Christ was born

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# O night

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# O holy night

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# O night divine!

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# O night, when Christ was born

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# O hear the angel voices

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# O night divine

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# O night, when Christ was born

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# O night

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# O holy night

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# O night divine

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# O night

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# When Christ was born. #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Susan Boyle, Jonathan and Charlotte, Michael Ball and Hayley Westenra join five thousand singers at the Royal Albert Hall for this Songs of Praise special, as the results of a nationwide vote to discover Britain's most popular Christmas carols are revealed.


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