The Sans Day (St. Day) Carol

The Sans Day Carol, also known as the St. Day Carol or “Now the Holly Bears a Berry,” is a traditional Cornish Christmas carol named after the village of St. Day, Cornwall, England, where it was found around the turn of the 20th century. It is closely related to the more well-known carol, “The Holly and the Ivy,” and it is thought that the two are are variants of the same song.

The text of the carol employs the symbols of the holly (representing the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head at his crucifixion) and the berry (representing the blood of Christ). Each verse concludes with the refrain, “And Mary bore Jesus Christ our Savior for to be; and the first tree of the greenwood, it was the holly.”

In this arrangement, this simple yet lovely tune is presented by various combinations of instruments within the brass quintet, in different keys in each of three verses and with differing harmonizations in each.

Score, parts (Bb tpt. 1, Bb tpt. 2, F horn, tbn, tuba) — $12.99

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