The Best New Christmas Titles for High School Band

You’ve made it to the end of October, and (hopefully) the end of marching band season, so the annual quest for new sheet music for Christmas/winter concerts begins.  As always, there are a lot of familiar titles and treatments to sort through in the search for something unique, and, of course, everyone’s needs vary.  Our band staff suggests giving a listen to the following titles.  We found them to be unique, enjoyable, and worthwhile additions to your music library.  For more selections, visit the Christmas and Winter Holiday section of our concert band page – there you will find titles organized by difficulty, seasonal concert collections, and specialty titles (arrangements with narrator, choir, sing-alongs, and Chanukah titles).  If you teach beginning or middle school band, be sure to check out our recommendations for new young band Christmas titles, as well.

Ancient Carol Variants
Chris M. Bernotas
Grade 3.5
This delightful holiday arrangement brings a fresh and exciting treatment to one of the most ancient of holiday carols, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Beginning with a fantasy on the main theme, it explores variations in march style and mixed-meter with contemporary harmonies for a unique and distinctive holiday treat.

Angels Sing
Bill Calhoun
Grade 3
In this symphonic mix of two familiar Christmas carols, Angels We Have Heard on High and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, both themes are seamlessly woven together to create a holiday montage brimming with spirit and musicality.  Thematic fragments are passed throughout all the voices, and tempo and meter changes add stylistic interest.

Hark! The Herald Angels Swing
arr. Chris Sharp
Grade 3
This spectacular and unique jazz arrangement pays tribute to the great Dave Brubeck. Showcasing a comfortable multi-meter jazz feel, the music gives a contemporary edge to the classic carol.

Joy to the Season
Sean O’Loughlin
Grade 4
This exciting holiday overture for the mature concert band opens with a joyous tapestry of sounds reminiscent of Pines of Rome, and explores a wide range of tonalities and stylistic modes as it interweaves the holiday standards Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Pat-a-pan, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and Joy to the World.

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

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