Christmas Day Big Sing Songs of Praise


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Christmas Day Big Sing

Aled Jones introduces a festive Songs of Praise celebration from London's Royal Albert Hall, as five thousand voices raise the roof with carols galore.


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It's Christmas morning, and we're here at the Royal Albert Hall

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for our Songs Of Praise Christmas Day Big Sing.

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Our superstar guest is singer-songwriter Chris de Burgh.

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There's a special performance by our Junior School Choir of the Year.

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And a festive favourite, Walking In The Air.

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I'm sure I recognise that bloke from somewhere.

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And of course, a whole host of much-loved carols.

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APPLAUSE

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Hello, and a very merry Christmas to you.

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-Are you ready to sing, ladies and gentlemen?

-ALL: Yes!

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Fantastic.

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Our first carol celebrates what Christmas is really all about -

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that glorious event some 2,000 years ago,

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the birth of the baby Jesus.

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It's Joy To The World.

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APPLAUSE

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Well, that was fabulous. What a glorious way to start.

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You are in fine voice.

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Now, our star guest has amassed well over 200 gold and platinum discs,

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and performed a staggering 3,000 concerts all over the world.

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Here's one more.

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's Chris de Burgh.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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-How are you?

-Fantastic!

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I couldn't think of a better place to be

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on Christmas Day than right here in the Albert Hall because,

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you probably don't know this, but Prince Albert

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and Queen Victoria were responsible for bringing

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many of the Christmas traditions that we have today,

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like Christmas trees and Christmas cards.

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What do you feel about Christmas? Love it?

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I love the tradition, yeah. And I think it's wonderful for people to come together.

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And if I may just say, at Christmas time,

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think of those people who are out there who are lonely

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and do not have friends and family around them.

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So maybe you could make a point and go and visit somebody today.

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-What are you going to sing?

-A new song on my Footsteps 2 album,

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called On A Christmas Night.

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So I'd like you to imagine a little boy in bed,

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fast asleep, and the snow starts falling, it's Christmas Eve,

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his friend wakes him and says,

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"Come outside, we'll play snowballs."

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His friends are out there, playing snowballs,

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they see the lights on the hill going to the church,

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and they join a Christmas celebration at Midnight Mass.

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Fantastic. Ladies and gentlemen,

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singing On A Christmas Night, the one and only Chris de Burgh.

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APPLAUSE

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# I was awakened on a Christmas night

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# Somebody shaking me and shining a light

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# Wake up, the winter is here

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# And snow is falling on the ground

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# Out of the window 'Twas a magic sight

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# And for a little boy It was a magic night

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# My friends were playing outside

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# And snow was tumbling on the ground

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# And we saw a thousand candles in the night

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# Moving to the church up on the hill

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# When the people saw us They said, "Come inside"

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# And the song that night They sing it still

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# We are here to celebrate

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# The birth of a child

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# Who came to the world

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# We are here to celebrate

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# The life of a child

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# Who came to the world

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# We are here to celebrate

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# The birth of a child

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# Who came to the world

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# We are here to celebrate

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# The life of a child

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# Who came to the world

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# On this night

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# We are here to celebrate

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# The birth of a child

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# Who came to the world

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# We are here to celebrate

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# The life of a child

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# Who came to the world

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# To the world

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# We are here to celebrate

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# The birth of a child

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# Who came to the world

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# We are here to celebrate

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# The life of a child

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# Who came to the world

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# To the world

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# His love

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# I was awakened on a Christmas night. #

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APPLAUSE

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Chris de Burgh, everybody!

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If you've children with you, I guess they opened their presents hours ago,

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and I'm sure Father Christmas did what he does best.

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Christmas presents were originally quite modest,

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and included such things as cakes, fruit and nuts.

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Try telling that to my children!

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LAUGHTER

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Well, our next carol mentions children and toys.

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Malcolm Sargent wrote the words.

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He was probably the best-known of the Proms conductors.

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A great showman who, here in this hall, firmly established

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the tradition of the conductor's humorous address

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at the Last Night of the Proms.

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Ladies and gentlemen, it's Zither Carol.

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APPLAUSE

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2011 has been a very exciting year for our next guests.

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They entered the School Choir of the Year Competition

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for the very first time, and in April at the Sheffield City Hall,

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they were crowned Junior Champions, the first-ever Welsh choir to win.

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APPLAUSE

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,

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in their debut performance here at the Royal Albert Hall,

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singing Little Donkey, Little Jesus, Ysgol Pen Barras!

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APPLAUSE

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APPLAUSE

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Llongyfarchiadau. Wnaethoch chi fwynhau hwnna?

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-Do.

-Do, diolch, do.

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It's taken me years

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to be able to speak in my native tongue to a winner

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in the School Choir of the Year Competition,

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and it's finally happened!

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APPLAUSE

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But if you don't mind, we'll do

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-the rest of the interview in English.

-OK.

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Fair enough. What's it like, singing with your friends in the Royal Albert Hall?

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It feels amazing. I was so lucky to perform here.

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It's not very often you sing on Christmas morning, either!

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No, not really!

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He's like, "Yeah, whatever!

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"Been there, done it, ticked it!" What are you doing next?

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You've sung at the Albert Hall, there's nothing else to do!

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Some of us are moving up to high school now,

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so we've got to do a lot of studying.

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That's reality for you, ladies and gentlemen.

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-Are you going to carry on singing?

-Of course.

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True Welshman!

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Well, we think you're fantastic,

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and I'm so pleased you won the Junior Competition.

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Ysgol Pen Barras, ladies and gentlemen!

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APPLAUSE

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We associate bells with Christmas, don't we?

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It was an interest in church bell ringing that inspired

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the words of our next carol,

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written in 1924 by English composer George Ratcliffe Woodward.

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This one will be performed by our Stage Choirs, accompanied by

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our Big Sing Orchestra, under the baton of Paul Leddington Wright.

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It's Ding Dong Merrily On High.

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APPLAUSE

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Our Stage Choirs, ladies and gentlemen -

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Saint Michael's Singers, the London Chorus,

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the Adventist Vocal Ensemble and the Brighton Festival Chorus!

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And now something that has become synonymous with Christmas.

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You're bound to have heard it whilst buying presents.

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A Spaceman Came Travelling. To perform it, the man who wrote it.

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Please welcome back Chris de Burgh.

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APPLAUSE

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I've spent many hours with you, but I've never asked - what inspired you to write it?

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I wrote A Spaceman Came Travelling in Drayton Gardens, London

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on a hot August afternoon.

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So the answer is, I have absolutely no idea!

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But really, in the back of my mind, I'm a "What if?" person.

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What if there is another sentient being out there in space,

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keeping an eye on our planet

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and the crazy things that we do from time to time?

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Maybe they will come back and give us a few hints

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about how to put the whole thing right.

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This is a song that not only reminds me of Christmas, but many Christmases

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in the past, and if you're unlucky enough to be stuck in an elevator

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over the Christmas period,

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the chances are you're going to hear this quite a bit!

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I don't know about you, ladies and gentlemen,

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but I can't wait to hear it now. Chris de Burgh.

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APPLAUSE

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# A spaceman came travelling on his ship from afar

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# 'Twas light years of time since his mission did start

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# And over a village He halted his craft

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# And it hung in the sky like a star

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# Just like a star

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# He followed a light and came down to a shed

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# Where a mother and child were lying there on a bed

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# A bright light of silver shone round his head

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# And he had the face of an angel

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# And they were afraid

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# Then the stranger spoke He said, "Do not fear

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# "I come from a planet a long way from here

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# "And I bring a message for mankind to hear"

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# And suddenly, the sweetest music

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# Filled the air

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# And it went

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ALL: # Na, na-na na, na-na na na-na na

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# Na, na-na na, na-na na

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# Na, na-na na, na-na na, na-na na

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# Peace and goodwill to all men

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# And love for the child

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ALL: # Na, na-na na, na-na na na-na na

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# Na, na-na na, na-na na

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# Na, na-na na, na-na na, na-na na

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# Ohhh, ohhh, ohhh

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# This lovely music went trembling through the ground

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# And many were wakened on hearing that sound

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# And travellers on the road The village they found

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# By the light of that ship in the sky

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# Which shone all round

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# And just before dawn At the paling of the sky

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# The stranger returned and said "Now, I must fly

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"When 2,000 years of your time has gone by

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# "This song will begin once again..."

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# "..To a baby's cry"

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# And it goes

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ALL: # Na, na-na na, na-na na na-na na

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# Na, na-na na, na-na na

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# Na, na-na na, na-na na, na-na na

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# Peace and goodwill to all men

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# And love for the child

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# And we sing

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ALL: # Na, na-na na, na-na na na-na na

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# Na, na-na na, na-na na

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# Na, na-na na, na-na na, na-na na

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# This song will begin once again

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# To a baby's cry-y-y-y. #

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APPLAUSE

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Ladies and gentlemen, Chris de Burgh!

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Time for us all to sing together again.

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Our next carol was written by Phillips Brooks in 1868,

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following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

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He was so inspired by the views of the hills of Bethlehem,

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especially at night,

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that he wrote the beautiful O Little Town Of Bethlehem.

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APPLAUSE

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Now, back in 1982, a short animated film called The Snowman,

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shown on television on Christmas Eve,

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became an overnight success story that has lasted until today.

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For many people, it's an essential part of Christmas viewing,

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and the song in the film, Walking In The Air, was written by our next guest.

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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the Christmas Big Sing,

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Howard Blake!

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APPLAUSE

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First things first, Howard. Thank you for giving me a career.

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LAUGHTER

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You deserved every bit of it.

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What does Christmas mean to you?

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Well, for me, Christmas changed once I wrote The Snowman

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and Walking In The Air.

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How did you get involved in The Snowman?

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I saw this idea of Raymond Briggs's story and of the snowman flying,

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and I had this song in my head, and I said, "We could make a film of this

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"with no words, just let me see, let me do a little demo."

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We tried Walking In the Air, and it worked, we put it together,

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and we'd no idea it would be such a big hit, really.

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I actually got into a cab one morning at Christmas,

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and the taxi was playing Walking In The Air flat out,

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and I said, "Would you mind turning that down a bit?"

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He said, "You should listen to this, mate," he said.

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And I said, "Well, actually, I wrote it,"

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and he turned right round and said, "yes, and I'm Father Christmas".

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LAUGHTER

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Well, if you don't mind, I'd like to turn back the clock somewhat

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and sing Walking In The Air now with these fine singers behind me,

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-is that all right?

-That would be wonderful.

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Ladies and gentlemen, the man responsible for

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what I think is the greatest piece of music on Earth! Howard Blake!

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APPLAUSE

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CHILDREN: # We're walking in the air

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# We're floating in the midnight sky

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# The people down below are sleeping as we fly

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# I'm holding very tight

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I'm holding very tight

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# I'm riding in the midnight blue

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I'm riding in the midnight blue

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# I'm finding I can fly so high above with you

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# Riding in the midnight blue

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# Far across the world

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Far across the world

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# The villages go by like dreams

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The villages go by like dreams

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# The rivers and the hills The forests and the streams

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ALL: # Children gaze open-mouthed

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# Taken by surprise

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# Nobody down below believes their eyes

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# We're surfing in the air

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We're surfing in the air

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# We're swimming in the frozen sky

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We're swimming in the frozen sky

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# We're drifting over icy mountains floating by

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ALL: # Suddenly swooping low

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# On an ocean deep

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# Rousing up a mighty monster

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# From his sleep

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# We're walking in the air

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# We're dancing in the midnight sky

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# And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly

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# We're walking in the air

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# We're walking in the air. #

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APPLAUSE

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Ysgol Pen Barras and Howard Blake, ladies and gentlemen!

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Well, that's nearly it for this Christmas Day Big Sing,

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but our thanks to Chris de Burgh, Ysgol Pen Barras and Howard Blake.

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Before we go, there's just time to sing once more together,

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and it's one of the best-known and commonly-sung Christmas songs in the world,

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written by James Lord Pierpont and published in 1857,

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under the title One-Horse Open Sleigh, have you guessed what it is yet?

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It is, of course, Jingle Bells.

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From all of us on Songs Of Praise, have a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

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Do join us again in the Royal Albert Hall next week

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for our New Year's Day Big Sing.

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Our special guests will be Alexandra Burke and Katie Melua.

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Our Senior School Choir Of The Year,

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the Edinburgh Academy, join the party,

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so why don't you, too, as we celebrate the dawn of a new year.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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E-mail [email protected]

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Aled Jones introduces a festive Songs of Praise celebration from London's Royal Albert Hall, as five thousand voices raise the roof with carols galore. Star guest Chris de Burgh performs his seasonal hit A Spaceman Came Travelling, and the Junior School Choir of the Year join Aled to perform Walking in the Air.