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The twelve days of Christmas

author of text

I am sure that the RSNO was the first to do this at Christmas concerts and so these are the definitive actions. Emulated wildly in other places I am told.

1 A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Flap elbows to body
2 Turtle dove: Rest your head on loved one’s shoulder
3 French Hens: Place hands on head and flap like rabbits ears (!)
4 Calling birds: Cup hands round mouth and make this a loud call
5 Gold Rings: Arms held above your head to make a ring
6 Geese a-laying: Squat down to lay an egg
7 Swans a-swimming: Imitate breast stroke in front of you
8 Maids a-milking: Milk imaginary cow at face level
9 Ladies dancing: Turn through 360 degrees
10 Lords a-leaping: Leap in the air
11 Pipers piping: Imitate a piccolo (I have always assumed it was not intended to be the Scottish pipes!)
12 Drummers drumming: Vigorous drumming to the side at waist height

from notes by Christopher Bell © 2009


A Family Christmas
SIGCD202Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD202 track 9

Recording date
15 September 2009
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
Recording producer
Alexander Van Ingen
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch
Hyperion usage
  1. A Family Christmas (SIGCD202)
    Disc 1 Track 9
    Release date: October 2010
    Download only
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