Read the Story and Listen to Daniel Carter's Christmas Cantata, "Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem"

Sherri Otteson Bird and I collaborated on the Christmas song Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem in 1981. (For the story of how the song came be, click here.) Not long after the song was published, we started working on fleshing out the story of the shepherd boy who was there at the manger the night of Christ's birth. The result was a Christmas cantata for choir and soloists with flute obbligato and piano accompaniment.

It wasn't completed until 1992 after a lot of snail mail exchanges, phone calls and several years of rewrites and revisions. In 1993 Jackman Music Corporation published it, and it was an instant success. My singing group at that time recorded a demo of the cantata at Jerry Jackman's request. Apparently I was one of the few who still had a cassette tape of that recording, and I managed to convert the original analog version to digital, and as a result, below is a recording of entire cantata in three parts. Performance time for the cantata is 20 to 25 minutes.

Christmas Alleluia

Pachelbel's Canon for Voices: Christmas Alleluia

Originally, the cantata started with a piece called Christmas Alleluia, an arrangement of Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D for voices and piano with flute obbligato. However, the publisher felt that it would add too many additional pages to the cantata and make it prohibitive to purchase, so he published it separately with a recommendation that this piece be sung as a prelude to the cantata.

Soloists in the cantata are Gaye Beeson and Evan Whitaker. Sherri Otteson Bird accomanpanied. The performance of the cantata is in three parts, below.

Order sheet music for the cantata here.

Flute obbligato part can be ordered here.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The narration and lyrics of the cantata were written by Sherri Otteson Bird, with the exception of I Believe in Jesus Christ, and From Regions of Glory which are noted below.

Contents:

Prelude: Christmas Alleluia (sold separately from cantata)
1. A Heavenly Shepherd (soprano solo)
2. Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem (baritone solo)
3. Silent Night (SATB humming)
4. All the Light I Hear (baritone solo)
5. Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem (SATB)
6. I Believe In Jesus Christ (SAB; Bach/Gounod "Ave Maria")
7. From Regions of Glory (SATB)

A Heavenly Shepherd
Words by Sherri Otteson Bird
Music by Daniel Carter

The prophets spoke and they foretold
A heav'nly shepherd with an earthly fold,
And they said that we would know his voice,
And that all the earth would rejoice.
A bright new star would light the sky
To show the way to Him and testify
That on this day a King was born
Come to lead us all evermore.

And he will gather all His flock and feed His sheep,
And all the lost will be found.
And offering the bread of life to all His lambs,
And water, living water.

The prophets spoke and they foretold
A heav'nly shepherd with an earthly fold,
And He will reign the King of Kings!
He will reign the King of Kings,
And we His praises sing.

Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem
Words by Sherri Otteson Bird
Music by Daniel Carter

The night was long, we traveled far.
At times I looked, but could not see the star,
Yet still it shone unveiling then
The way to Bethlehem.

My heart held fear 'mid puzzled joy,
For I was only a small shepherd boy,
And on a hillside soft and green,
I heard an angel sing.

I saw the midnight sky aflame with
Radiant angels bathed in light, holy light,
Bringing word that Christ was born and
Beckoning to find Him, go and find Him.

A sweeter face I ne'er will see
Than of those loving eyes smiling up at me.
I found a King, I found a Friend,
That night in Bethlehem.

Whose love never ends.
Shine for me again,
Star of Bethlehem.

All the Light I Hear
Words by Sherri Otteson Bird
Music by Daniel Carter

Mists of darkness gather round me
Unclear paths lead everywhere.
Muddled voices urge me onward.
Should I follow unaware?

Does a light shine just above me?
Is it just confusion's glare?
Through the screaming silence can I hear a whispered promise
From the Only One who understands my fear?

I will close my eyes and say fervent prayer,
And follow all the light that I can hear,
Follow all the light I hear.

I Believe in Jesus Christ
Words and arrangement by Daniel Carter
Music by J. S. Bach

I believe in Jesus Christ,
He who paid my debt of sin,
Mercy to mankind extend.
He whose perfect life provides my path.

I believe in Christ divine,
Restorer of the light sublime.
I renew my faith, renew my will to follow Him.
I trust in the Savior, commit to the Savior.

My Savior shall give me strength to bear my strife,
Guide my footsteps with His light
Lead me into life, eternal life,
And I shall rest in his love forevermore,
For I believe in Christ.

Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem
Words by Sherri Otteson Bird
Music by Daniel Carter

The night was long, we travelled far.
At times I looked, but could not see the star,
Yet still it shone unveiling then
The way to Bethlehem.

My heart held fear 'mid puzzled joy,
For I was only a small shepherd boy,
And on a hillside soft and green,
I heard an angel sing.

I saw the midnight sky aflame with
Radiant angels bathed in light, holy light,
Bringing word that Christ was born and
Beckoning to find Him, go and find Him.

A sweeter face I ne'er will see
Than of those loving eyes smiling up at me.
I found a King, I found a Friend,
That night in Bethlehem.

But life goes on, years beyond one brief night of my youth—
Time clouds my vision of truth.
And though I stumble and fall I can hear someone call,
"Do not despair, your star is still there."

That Christmas night so long ago
Has filled my life with light because I know
That He lives now as He did then
A King in Bethlehem,
Whose love never ends.
Shine for me again,
Star of Bethlehem.

From Regions of Glory
Words by William W. Phelps
Music by Daniel Carter

From regions of glory an angel descended
And told the strange news how the Babe was attended
Go shepherds, and visit this heavenly stranger,
Beneath that bright star is your Lord in a manger!

Chorus
Hallelujah to the Lamb whom your souls may rely on.
We shall see him on the earth when he brings again Zion!

Glad tidings I bring unto you and each nation.
Glad tidings of joy, now behold your salvation!
Arise all ye pilgrims and lift up your voices
And shout the Redeemer while heaven rejoices!

Chorus

Let glory to God in the highest be given
And glory to God be reechoed in heaven.
Around the whole world let us tell the glad story,
And sing of His love, His salvation and glory!

Chorus

The kingdom is yours by the will of the Father
Whose word has gone forth that the righteous He'll gather.
Before all the wicked shall perish by fire
The heavens shall shine with the coming Messiah!

Chorus


For a complete list of my music published through Jackman Music, click here.

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Comments 7 comments

Kathleen 6 years ago

Lovely, as usual . . I would have expected nothing less.


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Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

That was a beautiful experience just to read the words. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

I like the title of the Cantata very much and I have bookmarked this Hub and rated it up.


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Daniel Carter 6 years ago from Western US Author

Thanks so very much, Patty! So glad you liked it!


Kathleen Holyoak profile image

Kathleen Holyoak 2 years ago from Paradise Valley, Arizona

It doesn't have to be the Christmas season for one to enjoy the music of Daniel Carter. He is a brilliant composer and I've followed him for years and look to him as a mentor. Everyone really needs to check out his

"Other Wise Man". It is one of my very favorites!


Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 2 years ago from Western US Author

Thank you, Kathleen!


Kathleen Holyoak profile image

Kathleen Holyoak 2 years ago from Paradise Valley, Arizona

I just pinned this!

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