Hewitt Jones, Thomas: Onward we go
Unison voices and organ or piano
Words by Gordon Giles
A perfect seasonal choice, Onward we go is a consummate example of Thomas Hewitt Jones’s feeling for young voices, and his passion for sharing the joy of Christmas through memorable tunes. A beautiful, arching melody carries the delightful verse by Canon Gordon Giles, which tells of children singing as they journey to the manger. Shepherds, angels and the Magi accompany them on their way, bearing gifts of love to honour the incarnation in faith, hope and reverence. Expressive and irresistible, words and music go straight to the heart, with a warmth especially inspired by the dedicatees, chorister-tutor Caroline Lenton-Ward and the children’s choir of St Stephen’s, South Dulwich, a church which also played a formative part in the composer’s musical upbringing.
Onward we go may be performed by unison voices with organ or piano, or with organ or piano and additional flexible instrumental ensemble including any available upper strings and woodwind, plus optional cello, bass guitar or double bass, mark tree and tubular bells.
A set of score and parts for the optional ensemble (Cat. No. Y373) will be available to purchase.
FROM THE PRESS RELEASE…
Written as a tuneful, warm and nostalgic tribute to the Christmas story; scored for the children’s touchingly young voices with piano, electric bass and instrumentalists. Thomas says “I have great fondness for St Stephen’s Dulwich, which played an important part in my formative musical education, and it is extremely fulfilling to write music for them and see the next generations of young singers coming through.”
Gordon Giles (lyricist) says: “This carol was written in Rochester in the summer of 2023, to a tune that Thomas had more or less written. Thus the text evolved with the music, which is a delightful way of collaborating. The theme is that of children singing on their way to visit the manger, a happy band of little pilgrims wanting to show the newborn king their love and worship him. Their gift is simply to offer love. As the song progresses they draw nearer, passing the shepherds seeing the angels’ light, and the Kings (Magi) with their gifts, all of which are offered to Christ as loving tribute. After these three journeying verses, the children have arrived, and find that by bringing love, it is in fact the infant Christ who has called them so that he can show them his love. In giving they receive. This is the cause of faith, hope and joy which has called young and old into his kingly presence today, just as it always has done. It is the core of Christmas, that we give gifts of love, because we have received love. We bring our love to the manger, and from it, God shows us his love, manifest in the incarnation”.
The carol may also be sung in procession or as part of a nativity Play.
2 November 2023
Sold under the terms of a personal use licence, the purchase of this file includes a licence to print up to 30 copies for use by your choir. If you need more than 30 copies, simply purchase multiple copies of the file for each additional 30 copies required. For example, 30 copies cost £20.00, 60 copies cost £40.00 etc.