VENI EMMANUEL (band version)

Performance of Veni Emmanuel by the Malone University choirs, band, and string orchestra

Symphonic Band
with optional chorus and optional organ
10 minutes. Grade 3-4

Those wishing to perform this work on a joint concert of their band, orchestra, and chorus, should buy the band set and choral scores, and rent the string parts from the orchestral version.


Optional choral scores sold separately, see below.

(Extra hardcopy scores and parts by also be ordered at the Pepper link.)

Information on Choral Scores (SATB or SSAA)

Also available for orchestra

Video of closing bars

YouTube player

Video of complete work

YouTube player

Notes on performance options

  • This work is available orchestra, concert band, SATB chorus, and SSAA chorus. All versions are in the same key so that combined forces may perform the work together.
  • It is designed to be a processional number for a Christmas program, opening with the men singing, chant-like, from the back of the hall, followed by a stately procession of the choir(s) to the stage.
  • All choral and organ parts are cross cued so that the piece may be performed by the band alone.
  • The work can also feature multiple choirs: verse 1 – men’s chorus, verse 2 – women’s chorus, verse 3 – SATB choir, verse 4 – all choirs

Program Notes

As one will surmise from the title, this work is based on the 14th-century hymn Veni, Veni Emmanuel, best known to many today as the Advent carol O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. I have always thought there is a progression in the text of the English-language stanzas from darkness to light. I hear darkness and longing in the first verse (“ransom,” “lonely exile”), the human spirit crying out for hope in a seemingly hopeless world. Each verse, to me, becomes successively brighter until by the last verse the heart is flooded with light, as Christ, the source of all hope, is revealed. The light of the victorious “Rejoice!” refrain is delayed until the progression to light is completed.

This piece seeks to portray this progression from gloom to joy, opening very darkly, followed by the men voices offstage yearning for hope. This is followed by successive statements of the Veni tune, while the choir literally moves from dark to light, as the singers process, bearing candles, from the rear of a darkened auditorium to the light of the stage. As with many settings of Advent and Christmas music, I have also quoted related material. During the processional, the orchestra segues from Veni to What Wondrous Love, a reflection on the Advent of Christ. At the end of the processional, as the women sing the second verse, the sopranos and first violins intone the carol What Child Is This? ( Greensleeves ) as a descant to the Veni tune. Since the music is moving from dark to light, the brightest moment of the O Come hymn, the four big chords that open the refrain with the text “Rejoice! Rejoice,” is withheld until the closing bars. As the choir sings these words for the first time, the brass immediately sound a fanfare on Crown Him with Many Crowns , a reminder that the babe in the manger is the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings.

— J.A. 

Performed by

  • Saint Xavier University Wind Ensemble and Choir
  • ​Ohio Northern University Symphony Orchestra, Travis Jürgens, conducting
  • Waldorf College Choir and Wind Symphony
  • Milligan College Orchestra and Choirs, Kellie Brown, conducting
  • Malone University Chorale, Band, & Orchestra, Jon Peterson, conducting
  • Concord Chamber Orchestra, Bach Chamber Choir, and Lutheran A Cappella Chorus, Jamin Hoffman, conducting
  • First Methodist Choir & Orchestra, Montgomery, AL
  • Summit Choral Society & Orchestra (Akron OH),
  • Hollis Town Band & Christmas Chorus (NH)
  • Durban City Orchestra (South Africa)
  • Mount Union College Symphonic Band

Another Christmas Work
(for band and optional audience sing-along)

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