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The First Noel

“The First Noel”

Arranger: Mack Wilberg

“The First Noel” is a traditional English Christmas carol arranged by Dr. Mack Wilberg, music director of The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

Using animation of artistic stained-glass images, the text of the well-known carol is unveiled on sweeping scrolls. The opening lyrics tell the story of the angel’s appearance first to the shepherds “in fields as they lay, keeping their flocks.” The final lyrics end with the plea for all to “sing praises” to God for His creation and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ which redemption for “mankind has bought.”

Contemporary English dictionaries define the word “noel” (also spelled “nowel” or “nowell”) as a cry of joy associated with the celebration of Christmas—the birth of the baby Jesus. This carol is thought to have been be a great favorite for Christmas Eve especially in the west of England when entire villages gathered for singing and celebrating