The Best New Christmas Titles for Young Band

As the weather starts to cool and the leaves begin to change, it is also time to begin rehearsing Christmas/winter concert music with your elementary and middle school bands.  As always, Stanton’s band staff is excited to share the best new arrangements with you – these are our favorites for 2013 from grade 0.5-2.5!

Both And All the Bells Shall Ring! and Flourishing Noels are wonderful choices as joyous openers or celebratory closers, and we can’t think of a title more deserving of a long-awaited band arrangement than Welcome Christmas from Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole ChristmasHoliday Bobsled Run is perfect for those who want something light and fun or need a non-Christmas, winter title, and O Christmas in Three is a lovely arrangement of well-known Christmas carols, all in 3/4 – what better way to teach and gain confidence playing in three.

Also, be sure to check out Alfred’s new Accent on Performance Holiday Collection listed below – it features Christmas titles from the Accent on Achievement band series by John O’Reilly and Mark Williams, and with 22 titles provides plenty of bang for your budget buck!

And All the Bells Shall Ring!
arr. Rob Romeyn
Grade 2.5
Sparkling and festive, And All the Bells Shall Ring contains a fanfare setting of Ding, Dong, Merrily on High with The Ukrainian Bell Carol providing dramatic contrast in the middle section. As the title implies, this arrangement is full of mallet percussion, and bell tone articulations and flourishes in the winds making it a celebratory choice for heralding the holiday season!

Christmas Mash-Up
arr. Larry Clark
Grade 0.5
Perfect for your students’ very first concert, Christmas Mash-Up utilizes the first six notes learned, rhythms no more difficult than quarter notes (8ths in the percussion), and is a ‘Greatest Hits’ of first Christmas titles including Jingle Bells, Up On the Housetop, Good King Wenceslas, and more in an arrangement far more interesting than the ‘one-liners’ from your beginning band method!

Flourishing Noels
arr. Travis J. Weller
Grade 2
Add some flourish to your holiday concert with this adaptation of The First Noel inspired by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Innovative harmonies and melodic snippets weave throughout the ensemble, and expansive percussion, including chimes and bells, add to the celebratory fanfare perfect for heralding the start of the Christmas season.

Holiday Bobsled Run
by Robert Sheldon
Grade 1.5
This pleasant holiday work features light playing, 8th notes, some syncopation, and lyrical melodic answering statements, before a chromatic slide down the hill ends the work. A charming, fun programming choice that depicts a carefree day of playing in the snow!

O Christmas in Three
arr. Joseph Compello
Grade 1.5
Independent part playing and balance are needed in this unique medley of traditional 3/4 carols. Containing O Christmas Tree, Away in a Manger, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, this adaptation also interweaves Silent Night and The First Noel with Away in a Manger to poignant effect.

Welcome Christmas (from How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
arr. Douglas E. Wagner
Grade   1
Available for concert band for the first time, Welcome Christmas from the television adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a welcome addition to Christmas band literature! Kids of all ages will recognize and love this arrangement of the joyous sound that rises from Whoville as its undaunted residents join their voices in affirming the deeper meaning of the season – and everyone gets the melody!

Accent on Performance Holiday Collection

Accent on Performance: Holiday Collection is one of five new concert collections from Alfred Publishing.  Each collection features specifically themed titles originally published in the Accent on Achievement band series by John O’Reilly and Mark Williams.  Holiday Collection contains 22 Christmas and holiday arrangements ranging in difficulty from grades 0.5-1.5.  Fun and accessible, this series is perfect for beginning and elementary band Christmas and winter concerts, contains plenty of arrangements allowing you to rotate your programming, and is educationally sound and age appropriate since the arrangements were correlated with the Accent on Achievement band method.  Click on the cover image to see the complete instrumentation.

Titles include: Christmas on the Farm; Early English Christmas; First Holiday Concert; First Rockin’ Christmas; First Winter’s Sleigh Ride; Holiday for Basses; Holiday Magic; A Holiday Processional; In a Christmas Mood; Kings from the East; Little Drummer Boy; Lo, How a Rose; North Pole Sleigh Ride; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Parade of the Tin Soldiers; Procession of the Kings; Two English Carols; Two Holiday Classics; Two Spanish Carols; Wassail March; Winter Fun; and Yankee Doodle Christmas.

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Categories: Concert Band, Music Education, New Publications, Staff Picks

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