recommended by Dan C., Orchestra Music Specialist
Wonderful new holiday music for string orchestra at various grade levels to satisfy all of your groups.
German Christmas Carols arr. Sandra Dackow, Grade 1
Although relatively unknown, these three carols (one is “O Come, Little Children”) will still add festiveness to a holiday concert and give you something new and fresh. With the multicultural bonus, they will also help teach bow placement, cut time, tempo changes and key changes. Everyone gets some melody on these holiday tunes associated with singing children. Add optional sleigh bells for a jolly touch.
Christmas in the Renaissance arr. Robert A. Curry, Grade 2
Three dancelike carols circa mid-1500s (“Riu, Riu, Chiu;” “Dadme Albricias Hijos d’eva;” “Ding, Dong Merrily On High”) that will help reinforce cut time and low “1” (using accidentals.) Generously scored, it also has tambourine, bodhran and glockenspiel parts for authentic color.
Christmas Cello-bration arr. Bob Phillips, Grade 2
Your hot-shot cellos are showcased on “What Child Is This?,” “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Cellos get 3rd & 4th position practice (first violins shift too) and everyone gets to experience key and style changes and an accidental G#.
The Little Drummer Boy arr. Bob Cerulli, Grade 2
Who needs a drummer, when your strings can play col legno for a drum-like effect? This popular, modern Christmas classic will fall together fast as you are reinforcing Bb and F notes. The upper strings carry most of the melodic material while the lower strings have a very effective ground bass. A refreshing, inventive arrangement!
Silent Night arr. Jeffrey E. Turner, Grade 2.5
Do you use a pianist with your string orchestra? This arrangement needs piano and even offers solo moments for it as well as principal cello and violin. With a tip of the hat to the Mannheim Steamroller, this fresh, ethereal setting in 4/4 time will help teach staggered bowing, triplets, sul tasto and transparency.
Appalachian Snowfall arr. Bob Phillips, Grade 3
The latest chance for you to rock out with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for your holiday concert. With its engaging, syncopated rock rhythms, eighth note pulse and optional rock rhythm section it could be the highlight of the show. Use electric violin & guitar if you have them.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel arr. Brian Holmes, Grade 3+
Here is a great change of pace for a high school holiday concert. It’s a highly original and energizing version of this popular advent carol. Everyone has fairly challenging parts which incorporate contrasting moods, song “quotes,” and rhythmic stretches with overlaps. Very effective!
About the Author:
Dan C. has worked at Stanton’s since 1979, primarily with orchestra music and print promotions. A “working” musician, he’s a classical cellist, a rock & jazz bassist and a folk & country guitarist/singer. His free time is spent with family or reading, gardening, cycling and working puzzles. His series of musical puzzles (RP3 Rebus Puzzle Picture People) can be found on the Stanton’s Facebook page each Sunday. He also has a reputation as a pretty good joke teller. Seriously.