The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

On To Bethlehem Town

For Christmas

Based on the Traditional Welch Hymn, “Tua Bethlem dref”

Also found as “Toward Bethlehem” and “Towards Bethlehem Town”

Words by William Evans (a.k.a. Will Ifan) (1883-1968)

Music by David Evann (a.k.a. Edward Arthur) (1874-1948), 1934

Featured in the PBS movie “A Child's Christmas in Wales” (1987)
The song was performed by the aunts and uncles near the end of the film.

 

1. On to Bethlehem town;
Join the crowd and travel down;
Down the road that leads us to the cradle.
Come all who are able.
Come, come to the stable with
Hearts full of joy as we kneel and pray
Come and see the child,
With his mother Mary mild.
Come along and worship at the cradle.

2. There we'll see the boy;
Hearts aglow with boundless joy;
In the everlasting word.
We will bow before for Him
Come, come and adore Him
Bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
On to Bethlehem town;
Join the crowd and travel down.
Down the road that leads us to the cradle.

 

Notes:

Lyrics and additional notes posted at: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=117060

Lyrics and additional notes at Choral Net:: http://www.choralnet.org/view/180106

Video of the song being performed

By “The Billings BoyChoir” at Rocky Mountain College.”
http://billingsgazette.com/entertainment/music/vmix_3d4954df-4cdc-5c0d-9ace-786e26c30aec.html

Another performance of “On To Bethlehem Town” at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf-x95xKePM

The Wikipedia article about the lyricist, William Evans, is located at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Evans_(Wil_Ifan) There is also a biography at Welsh Biography Online, http://wbo.llgc.org.uk/en/s2-EVAN-WIL-1883.html He was an award-winning Welsh poet.

The composer, David Evans, also went by the name Edward Arthur in some of his compositions. The Cyberhymnal has a biography of him at http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/e/v/evans_d.htm

Additional information about Evans can be found at http://composers-classical-music.com/e/EvansDavid-ArthurEdward.htm

Evans, an ordained minister, also edited the Revised Church Hymnary (1928) of the Church of Scotland.

The score in Sibelius format can be found at http://www.sibeliusmusic.com/cgi-bin/show_score.pl?scoreid=73537

A PDF of the score by Dean C. Young can be found at http://www.cypressfilms.com/PDF/Tua_Bethlem_Dref.pdf

Information about the movie “A Child's Christmas In Wales” (1987) can be read at the Cypress Films web site:
http://www.cypressfilms.com/filmography.html#childs_christmas

Additional information concerning the film is found at the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0172238/

It is available on DVD from Amazon and other sites (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000AOEN90/qid=1123113023/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-2811097-3911125?v=glance&s=dvd )

A copy of the 1952 short story “A Child's Christmas in Wales,” by Dylan Thomas, has been posted at http://www.bfsmedia.com/MAS/Dylan/Christmas.html It is also described as a “prose poem.” Other sources give the date of 1955.

There are numerous recordings at YouTube, including http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oIhkGVi_Vw (there are numerous other postings).

The Wikipedia article about Dylan Marlais Thomas (1914–1953) is located at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dylan_Thomas (with a wealth of links)

The Wikipedia article about “A Child's Christmas in Wales” is located at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Child's_Christmas_in_Wales

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