Joseph’s Carol

John is delighted to have written a new carol for 2020, a musical tribute to the accomplished team of scientists at the University of Oxford who worked on the Covid-19 vaccine. Joseph’s Carol has been recorded in the city’s Grade I listed Sheldonian Theatre, performed by Sir Bryn Terfel and the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra. The world premiere of this new piece will be streamed in a celebratory concert, which also includes music by Elgar, Handel and Rodgers & Hammerstein; footage from the lab of the vaccine process; and interviews with performers and researchers.

Join us from the comfort of your living room for this special musical tribute on Friday 18th December at 18:30 GMT. You can watch on Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra’s YouTube Channel or on Classic FM’s Facebook page.

Find out more about the premiere >>

John says:

“I am delighted to have been invited to contribute to this celebration, which expresses in music the gratitude we all feel in our hearts. If ever a group of people deserved a pat on the back, it surely must be this dedicated team of scientists on their mission to save the world. All of us involved in the musical tribute joined in because we wanted to say that, as musicians, we feel for you as scientists and are thinking of you. As always, music goes beyond words.”

Read more in John’s latest blog post >>










Below are the lyrics for Joseph’s Carol, written at the invitation of Marios Papadopoulos and the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and respectfully dedicated to the Oxford Vaccine Team.

  1. Long and weary was the journey,
    Hard and dark the road we trod;
    Deep enfolded in the stillness of the night
    It seemed I heard the voice of God:
    ‘Fear not, Joseph, weep not Mary,
    Travel onward through the darkness of night;
    Bethlehem will see his glory:
    Christ, Emmanuel, the Lord of light.’

Ecce miraculum, ecce miraculum
Here in a stable lies your heav’nly King,
Ecce miraculum, ecce miraculum,
Alleluia, alleluia hear the angels sing.

2. Journey’s end was just a stable bare,
Cold and lonely for a birth;
Ox and ass were our companions there
When God revealed himself on earth.
Shepherd came in awe and wonder,
Kneeling low beside his manger stall;
Angels singing,
Wise men bringing
Gifts to lay before the Lord of all.

Ecce miraculum, ecce miraculum
Here in a stable lies your heav’nly King,
Ecce miraculum, ecce miraculum,
Alleluia, alleluia hear the angels sing.

10 Responses to “Joseph’s Carol”

  1. Rebecca Strenge

    I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your virtual conversations with Tori, its so fun to hear how you think and create your songs. The Stay-at-Home choir has keep me happily engaged singing while still staying home, plus I get to listen to the Brits talking! I live in Seattle, Washington USA.
    Thank you

  2. Jean Claude CONSTANTIN

    Is it required to book for this event ? and how in case ?
    further: will this streaming will be free or how to pay for it ?
    Many thanks

    • Team JR

      Jean Claude – The streaming of the concert to thank the Oxford Vaccine Team on 18 December will be free, and no registration is needed to see it. You can watch it on the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra’s YouTube channel, or (if you are a Facebook user) on Classic FM’s Facebook page.

  3. Johanna Beyts

    So well done and nice to get this recognition it brought tears eyes

  4. Amy Parker

    Thank you. My father was a medical doctor in Canada. Almost decided to study in England after the war. His spirit lives on, I feel, in your music. I also sing your music in a church choir.

  5. Malcolm Herbert

    Let’s hear it for Joseph… he was more than an ‘old man… was he’. Thank you.

  6. Kathleen Robertson

    Thank you so much for the concert last night. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Wonderful music, beautifully sung, together with the readings. Hopefully able to get to RAH next year. We live in hope these days! The Christmas concert is my birthday treat each year and to be able to see it online was really special at this difficult time. I have been shielding since March so it was a real treat for me. Thanks to all who made it possible. Look forward to hearing your new carol.

  7. Patricia MacDonald

    I have always loved your Christmas music. In particular, the fourth verse of Nativity Carol always brings tears to my eyes. “Love in that stable was born, into our hearts to flow…” . Ovey! To me, that verse says it all. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. I very much look forward to hearing this new carol

  8. Pedro Cordeiro

    What a lovely concert! Joseph’s Carol really is a gem doing justice to an often forgotten character of the beautiful Nativity story. This and the virtual celebration days ago almost makes up for not being in the Royal Albert Hall this year. Hope to be back in 2021, until then I’ll just sing Angel’s Carol with my four daughters. Merry Christmas from Lisbon, John, and a Very Happy New Year.