Update: First-round voting ended on Nov. 30. On to round two!
What if Good King Wenceslas — a 10th-century Bohemian duke beloved for his kindness and generosity — entered a tournament of champions? How would he fare? Would it be a fluke if someone bested the duke?
You’ve had these thoughts, it’s been a wild and weird 2020 after all. You’re also in luck.
Now that we’ve all had our fill of turkey and gravy, we can finally get to the reason for the season: A 32-song bracket to decide, until the next time we do it, which Christmas carol is the best out of all the rest!
And if the good king wants to wear the crown, he’ll have to go through 31 other holiday hopefuls.
John Mason Neale, a 19th-century priest, wrote “Good King Wenceslas” as a tribute to the man he saw as a role model. He also is remembered today as a translator of carols from all over the world into English, including “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
Who visited the baby in a manger first? Was it the “We Three Kings” or the two young French milkmaids from “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella?”
Another powerhouse is “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” written by 19th-century rector Philip Brooks and organist Lewis Redner of Philadelphia, an all-American carol. Except when it’s not. Did you know that in England, the carol has an entirely different tune? Composer Ralph Vaugh Williams used the text by Brooks and Redner, but set it to a folk tune he learned from a laborer in Surrey.
Don’t wait, help us find which carol will reign supreme. Will “O Holy Night” — the No. 1 seed and returning champ from the 2019 CPR Classical Christmas Carol Countdown — earn a repeat? Get in on the December madness and vote for your favorite carols in the bracket below.
First-round voting is open through Nov. 30. We’ll announce the carols that move on and open voting for round 2 on Dec. 1. Voting will continue until we declare a champ on Dec. 14. And don’t forget to listen to CPR Classical’s Carol Countdown on Saturday, Dec. 12 starting at 2 p.m.
Votes in the bracket will be used to help arrange the annual CPR Classical Carol Countdown. Did we miss your favorite? Tell us! You can find the rest of our holiday programming here.
CPR Classical's Marilyn Cooley contributed to this story.