Every year my school has a Holiday Sing-Along on the last day before winter break. All of the students gather in the gym for about 30 minutes to sing together and have fun while the room parents set up the classrooms for the winter parties. I created a PowerPoint presentation that includes the song lyrics, accompaniments, and usually a couple of fun videos to break things up a bit. I also like to feature some student performances during the Sing-Along, such as the Nutcracker dances we choreographed during music classes. This year, I had three very talented fifth grade ladies who completed the entire recorder book, and I really wanted to give them something special to perform.
I discovered that the music for Carol of the Bells is in the public domain (woo hoo!), so I decided to arrange it for the instruments I had. I have some nice Sonor Orff instruments, but they are all diatonic (C major with F-sharp and B-flat additions). Luckily my husband is an instrument hoarder, and we also own a chromatic glockenspiel that I was able to use. I downloaded the MIDI from cipoo.net and imported that into Sibelius 6. After tweaking the instrument ranges and the key, I had a recognizable arrangement that I am very happy with and my students enjoyed learning.
Below is the video of my students’ performance at the Sing-Along. We rehearsed during the girls’ recess time approximately three days a week for three weeks. I let them choose which parts they wanted to play, and of course, they gave me the easiest part. After a few rehearsals I realized that they had memorized their parts, so I asked if they wanted to perform from memory (they did), which meant I had to memorize my part too (good thing I had the easy part). The instruments on the video from left to right are: Mrs. Riley on diatonic soprano xylophone, Reina on chromatic glockenspiel, Noyuri on diatonic bass xylophone, and Yuna on diatonic alto xylophone. We found that we were able to best stay together in the echo-y gym with the melody and bass parts in the center of the stage.
Because I am running Sibelius 6 on a Windows machine, creating a PDF version of the sheet music was not native. I found a great tip on how to easily create PDFs from Sibelius at Sibeliusblog.com. The recommended PDFCreator took about 5 minutes to download and install. All I had to do was choose it from the print dialog in Sibelius. Yay!
Download the full score and parts in PDF format as a zip file here.