Each year, the knowledgeable staff at Stanton’s chooses select titles to promote to you, our valued customers. We listen to thousands of new issues from scores of publishers and composers to present you with the very best in new music for your ensembles. In our new Stanton’s Spotlight feature, we will put a special focus on one piece that we particularly enjoy, and tell you how it can serve you and your group.

The Little Drummer Boy

arr. Philip Kern

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

Little Drummer Boy-page-001“The Little Drummer Boy” is a standard holiday carol, but this is NOT a standard arrangement! Philip Kern has set it here for a cappella SSATB voices (and short solos on a couple of verses), with an innovative world-music flavor. If you’ve been experimenting with contemporary a cappella repertoire (a la “The Sing-Off” or “Pitch Perfect”), this is a great selection for a December concert. You’ll need basses with a pretty solid low F, and all other ranges are moderate.

The percussion part as written is notated for a single hand drum, but in my opinion this sounds a little anemic. Raid the band room next door for all the world music percussion instruments you can find (and recruit some kids to play!). And you know what would be REALLY cool? If you have a talented vocal percussionist (or two), let them loose on the percussion part and go totally sans instruments!

I love a cappella arrangements for holiday performances, because they give you such freedom to travel with your ensemble – perform in the school cafeteria during lunch (recruit!), at the monthly school board meeting (advocate!), at the local mall or other holiday event (publicize!) or at the nursing home (give back to the community!).

This might be a great piece for your group because it…
•    incorporates a creative world-music style percussion groove, as well as some contemporary a cappella influence.
•    features moderate ranges and straight-forward divisi.
•    can “travel” for holiday performances.

For more great suggestions, please contact our Choral Department at 1.800.42.MUSIC or email us at


Categories: New Publications, School Choral, Staff Picks, Stanton's Spotlight

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