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About Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings

Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings is a musical celebration of the season of Advent. Beginning on November 28 (the first Sunday of Advent) and ending with Christmas Day, we will post a song every day, each recorded especially for you, our listeners. Our recordings will be a mix of secular and religious hymns, carols, and songs that we hope will put all of you in the Christmas spirit.

Songs will be available on this web site as well as on our Facebook page. You can keep up with this musical Advent calendar either place, or you can subscribe to the rss feed to help keep you up to date. In addition to mp3 files for each song, we will post lyrics and interesting information.

The origins of Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings lie with a Christmas present Greg Barlow received in 2007. His wife, Liddy, gave him a banjo for Christmas, and though he'd never really played an instrument before, over the next year, he made pretty good progress learning to play clawhammer-style. With Christmas coming up, he'd been planning to learn some Christmas hymns, and he thought it would be fun to share them with others. This became Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings 2008, the first year of Hark!.

The response in 2008 was so positive, Greg wanted to make Hark! 2009 even better. So first, he practiced for a year, which helped with the quality of his playing. Second, he recruited a bunch of other musicians to join the project. Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings 2009 included banjo, mandolin, flute, trombone, tuba, ukulele, and piano.

For Hark! 2010, we're hoping to bring you new musicians, new instruments, and a lot of great music. Each day's post will include lyrics and information about the song, the musicians, and what instruments were played.

Sources are listed for each song, but the most helpful sources for this project were the Presbyterian Hymnal (1990), the Oxford Book of Carols (1964), the New Century Hymnal (1995), and the The Hymns and Carols of Christmas.

You can contact Greg Barlow about Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings at greg at barlow dot info.

The Musicians

Greg Barlow (11/28, 11/29, 11/30, 12/02, 12/04, 12/06, 12/08, 12/09, 12/10, 12/12, ... )
Instruments: banjo, mandolin, ukulele, voice
Greg is the founder of Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings.
Gwen Barlow
Instrument: voice
Gwen is Greg's sister.
Liddy Barlow (11/29, 12/05, 12/08, 12/15, 12/17 )
Instruments: tin whistle, flute, bass recorder
Liddy is Greg's wife.
Lindsey Barlow (12/03)
Instruments: ukulele, voice
Lindsey is Greg's sister.
Logan Barlow
Instrument: voice
Logan is Greg's sister.
Vaughn Barry (12/11, 12/20)
Instruments: violin, egg shaker
Vaughn is Liddy's college roomate and has always dreamed of being a part of Hark! She started violin lessons in June and snagged herself a musically-talented boyfriend to make Hark! 2010 a reality.
Sarah Mary Gerchman
Instrument: piano
Sarah Mary is Liddy's sister.
Billy Gewin (12/11, 12/20)
Instruments: guitar, bass, banjo, voice
Billy is Vaughn's very helpful boyfriend. He is a musician (, computer-programmer, and water-skiier/wake-boarder.
Mark Gionfriddo (12/1, 12/19)
Instrument: piano
Mark directs the Jazz Program and is Catholic Music Director at Mount Holyoke College, Liddy, Vaughn, and Sarah Mary's alma mater.
Rachelle Gould (12/13)
Instrument: voice
Rachelle is a friend of Rob.
Matt Kloser (12/13)
Instrument: guitar
Matt is a friend of Rob.
Angela Letizia (12/07)
Instrument: cello
Angela, a friend of Liddy, has spent many nights playing in concert halls and rock clubs yet far prefers her own living room.
Rob Lucas (12/13)
Instrument: piano
Rob and Liddy both taught at Edwards Middle School in Rocky Mount, North Carolina as part of the Teach for America program.