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The first of a set of ten traditional carols and Christmas music arranged for two flutes, clarinet and alto saxophone under the general title "Ye Olde Carol-Singers' Compendium". This collection came into being when our daughters and their schoolfriends went carolling around a small village in Lancashire. The arrangements sought to give them each an interesting part, without making too many technical demands.
Some practical points for performance:
- Each arrangement has a brief lead-in to ensure the singers come in together, on time and in key.
- The arrangements are designed to accompany at least two verses of each carol – if the group wishes to sing and play succeeding verses, agree this beforehand or utter chaos will reign…..
- Plasticizing the pages is a sensible precaution against the music dissolving in the rain!
- Test your lighting and music stands before you start – reading sheet music by street lamps in the wind and rain is an acquired skill.
- The alto sax can easily dominate the group. The player should be placed towards the back of the quartet and take care to follow the dynamic markings.
- Tuning alters dramatically with changes in temperature - if invited indoors (as our groups often were), a quick check before launching into the next carol can avoid a disastrous lurch into bitonality!
- Pubs, nursing homes and retirement accommodation usually extend a warm welcome to carol-singers but do contact them beforehand to get permission and fix a date and time. With luck, they may have mince pies and mulled wine waiting!!
- Finally, I’ve included 8 bars of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in the set to round off each visit on a suitably high note.
I hope these arrangements help promote and preserve the ancient and joyous tradition of neighbourhood carol-singing.