Age-Appropriate Music for Holy Week and Easter

Age-Appropriate Music for Holy Week and Easter

“And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on!”




Holy Week and Easter
With Holy Week and Easter soon upon us, here are some songs and hymns that work well for all-ages, especially children. These musical selections can help teach the emotions and stories of this holy season.

Worship book abbreviations:
H82 – The Hymnal 1982
MHSO – My Heart Sings Out
WLP – Wonder, Love, and Praise
SOF – Singing Our Faith
WG2 – Wild Goose Songs volume 2

Palm Sunday

  • SOF 58 David Haas – Call and response with Cantor
  • H82 154 All Glory Lord And Honor (the familiar tune)
  • H82 155 All Glory Lord And Honor
    (This uses a dancing plainsong tune from the 10th century. A good choice for a children’s choir to lead. Includes parts for bells, tambourine, drums and finger cymbals.)
  • MHSO 90 The king of glory comes 90
    (Wonderful dancing Jewish folk tune.)
  • MHSO 91 ‘Sanna
  • WLP 728 Mantos y palmas / Filled with excitement
  • WG2 52 Travelling the road to freedom

Maundy Thursday

  • MHSO 92 A new commandment
  • MHSO 93 Pan de vida
  • MHSO 94 Brother, Sister, let me serve you
  • WLP 731 Three holy days
  • WLP 826 Stay with me (Taize)
  • WLP 830 Ubi caritas (Taize)
  • WG2 34 The time was early evening
    (The story of the Last Supper, set to the folk tune Afton Water. Share the verses between different voices.)

Good Friday Services including Stations of the Cross

  • H82 172 Where you there?
  • H82 439 What wondrous love is this
  • WLP 825 Bless the Lord my soul (Taize)
  • WLP 827 Oh Lord hear my prayer (Taize)
  • MHSO 43,44,45 Settings of O lamb of God (44 is simplest)
  • MHSO 87 I want Jesus to walk with me
  • MHSO 89 What does it mean to follow Jesus? (a good closing song)
  • SOF 33 He never said a mumblin’ word
  • SOF 35 Oh how he loves you and me
  • SOF 120 Jesus remember me (Taize)
  • SOF 129 return to God (also Lent general)

Easter Vigil: Songs of the Story of God’s people

  • H82 187 Through the red sea brought at last
  • MHSO 85 God it was who said to Abraham
  • MHSO 97 It rained on the earth (also Water!)
  • MHSO 128 Many and Great
  • MHSO 96 We are on our way to the promised land
  • MHSO 98 We give thanks unto you

Easter Vigil: Water

  • MHSO 95 Crashing waters at creation
  • SOF 55 You will draw water (Is 12)
  • SOF 56 Springs of water, bless the Lord

Easter Vigil: Baptism

  • MHSO 119 Child of blessing, child of promise (This hymn can be sung to any 8787 tune)
  • MHSO 120 I am the light of the world
  • MHSO 122 You have put on Christ
    (120 and 122 are both short ostinato songs that could be sung by the children to welcome the newly baptized.)
  • MHSO 121 We bring our children here today
  • MHSO 105 We are all children of the Lord
  • MHSO 55 Wen Ti – May the Lord, mighty God
  • MHSO 56 May the Lord bless us and keep us
  • MHSO 57 La paz del Senor – the peace of the Lord

Easter Sunday and Easter season: Hymns with Alleluia refrains

  • H82 178 Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord
  • H82 214 Hail the day that sees him rise
  • H82 207 Jesus Christ is risen today
  • H82 205 Good christians all, rejoice and sing!
  • MHSO 99 That Easter morn (Mary meets Jesus at the tomb)
  • MHSO 100 Christ has arisen, Alleluia

Alleluia Responses

  • MHSO 18-22
  • SOF 62-67

Gospel Alleluias with verses

  • WLP  847, 848

Fraction Anthem Alleluias with verses

  • WLP 873 Those who eat my flesh
  • WLP 866 Christ our passover

Easter Sunday and Easter season: General

  • H82 213 Come away to the skies
  • H82 192 This joyful Eastertide
  • H82 193 That Easter day with joy was bright (Jesus appears to the disciples)
  • H82 204 Now the green blade riseth
    (French folk tune Noel Nouvelet.  Flute and drum accomp works really well)
  • MHSO 101 Sing, oh People
    (This hymn is such fun to sing!)
  • MHSO 86 In the bulb there is a flower
    (The cycle of life, death and resurrection)
  • MHSO 103 Oh que bueno es Jesus –  Oh how good is Christ the Lord
  • MHSO 138 O give thanks to the Lord
  • WG2 62 The Lord of the Morning
    (A first-person song of Mary Magdelene to a folk tune)
  • WG2 72 The Lord of all
    (A fast-moving syncopated song suitable for children’s choir)
  • WG2 178 Jesus Christ is waiting
    (A call to action set to the tune Noel Nouvelet)

Easter Evening

  • WG2 76 As we walked home at break of day
    (The story of Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus)


Descriptions of Worship Books

(H82) The Hymnal 1982
Normally I recommend more contemporary sources, but our Easter hymns are a central part of our heritage, so I have made a selection of simpler hymns, and those with alleluias that children can join in.

(MHSO) My Heart Sings Out
My hymnal designed for all-age worship, with the aim of the full inclusion of children in weekly worship.

(WLP) Wonder, Love and Praise
Contains a wide selection of service music and seasonal music suitable for All-Age Worship.

(SOF) Singing our Faith (SOF)
An excellent source of children’s worship music from the Catholic Church

(WG2) Wild Goose Songs: Volume 2
From the Iona community, contains many wonderful songs for Holy Week and Easter. Many are in strophic form, and therefore not ideal for younger children to sing, but those that tell stories are wonderful as anthems, or woven in with a first person story.


Fiona Vidal-White is a musician, Christian educator and Liturgist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts, a Master’s Degree in Sacred Music (BU), and most recently, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education (Lesley University).  Her passion for transformative change, in Sunday worship and in the whole wide church, is a gift from her father. Fiona has also written about Lenten hymns and songs for children for Building Faith.

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