Sparkling Lights! Fantastic New Concert Band Christmas Titles

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

Last month I posted our recommendations of great new Christmas arrangements for young band.  Now that marching season is basically over, I’d like to share our favorite new pieces for high school.  They all happen to be about a grade 3 difficulty, so they should be fairly easy to put together in the short turnaround between marching band and your winter concert.

Start by picking up the energetic and brilliant Sparkling Lights by Matt Conaway.  A perfect, celebratory opener, it has the unique distinction of receiving a Perfect 10 during our listening!  That’s right, all 3 of us gave it a 10.  Rejoice the Season! is a wonderful, traditional selection sure to be well received by any audience.  Lastly, I just had to include Christmas Vacation.  We watch A LOT of Christmas movies in my house, and somehow we always start with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  While the theme is somewhat cheesy and definitely a product of its time, it has the pedigree of songwriting team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and is performed by Mavis Staples (= music education!).  To our knowledge, it hasn’t been arranged for concert band before, and will add some fun to your concert.  Enjoy, and be sure to check out our Christmas & Winter Holiday categories for more seasonal ideas.

Sparkling Lights
Fanfare on O, Christmas Tree
Matt Conaway
Barnhouse Concert Band
Grade 3                        $74.00
Open your next winter concert with this shimmering holiday fanfare.  The melody of O, Christmas Tree is given a dynamic and energetic new treatment that will set the stage for a fantastic concert.  The shifting meters will keep your ensemble on its toes, and the musical result is worth the effort.

Rejoice the Season!
arr. Rob Romeyn
Barnhouse Concert Band
Grade 3                        $74.00
This very clever festive arrangement is the perfect opener or closer for your holiday concert!  Familiar carols are very creatively woven together capturing the true joy of the season. A very expressive and beautiful treatment of Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella provides a wonderful contrast to the festive and energetic beginning and ending of the piece. Rejoice the Season is sure to be holiday favorite with school bands and adult community groups.

Christmas Vacation
arr. Patrick Roszell
Belwin Concert Band
Grade 3                        $77.00
Since its release in 1989, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has become an annual modern Christmas classic with an almost cult following generating recollections of the funniest lines from the film. Stimulate those hilarious memories musically with this delightful arrangement of the charismatic theme song.

Stanton’s also recommends: Brazilian Bell Carol, Let the Light of Christmas Shine

Also now available: Selections from The Polar Express with Optional Choir and Strings

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004.  Besides music, he geeks out on comic books, amusement parks, and all things Pittsburgh (Go, Steelers!).  He also plays saxophone with Swing’s the Thing Big Band, loves fall weather, and is excited that hockey season has begun!


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

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