#MfETuesday – 20th December 2022

The Music for Everyone team wishes you a happy and festive Christmas and new year.

The MfE office will close on Friday 23rd December and re-open on Tuesday 3rd January 2023, emails will be checked intermittently during this time.

See you in 2023 for more music making!

Tomorrow heralds the winter solstice, the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. As the darkness lifts, the days will grow longer. Winter Solstice celebrations all over the world mark the midwinter cycle of the seasons and new beginnings.

The December solstice gave rise to celebrations that can be traced back to antiquity. Germanic peoples celebrated the feast of juul (yule or yuletide) which included burning a yule log to honor the Norse god Thor. Out of this, too, came yule singing and wassailing. Though some ancient practices were abolished by Christianity, many elements were arrogated, for instance, from the year-end bacchanal Roman Saturnalia. Romans sang songs, decked the halls with greens and garland. Though little is known about the actual music performed during the Roman imperial feast of the winter solstice, texts from the fifth-century Christian philosopher St. Augustine indicate that the songs were profane in nature.

Perhaps the most famous winter solstice celebration in the world takes place in the ancient ruins of Stonehenge, a monument built on a solstitial alignment. To this day, thousands of self-styled druids (Celtic priests), pagans, and visitors gather to usher in the first sunrise, after the long winter night. Revelers sing and dance among the stone landscape waiting for the sun to rise.

Tradition and music are at the heart of solstice. Whether it’s religious or secular, the solstice has engendered beautiful music.

To hear what music would have sounded like at Stonehenge 4,000 years ago, check out this article and recording from the website newscientist.com.

  • Why ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire’ is the perfect song to teach music theory!


  • The Friesland Orchestral Society is looking for new members! Rehearsals are on Friday evenings for informal music making with no public performances. You can find them on Facebook as ‘Sawley Music Group) if you’re interested and would like to get in touch.

Have a great week!

Your friends at MfE.



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#MfEMondays are Music for Everyone’s weekly emails designed to keep you up to date with MfE events & to circulate interesting finds, special features, and motivational moments for your Mondays! We are aiming to send out something new each week.