The Rhythm Of The Season

by Teresa Jennings

Time to feature your percussionists! In this catchy and infectious finale, it's all about the rhythm. The rhythm of the season, that is. The piece is based on an ongoing ostinato that begins in measure one and repeats every eight bars throughout the tune till two bars from the end, no matter what else is going on. And that's a lot!

The most important thing is the rhythm, and it begins with eight taps prior to the start of the song so that your rhythm stick/clave players can come right in on beat one. They play the quarter note pattern (which aligns with the melodic ostinato) throughout till the last bar. At measure 9, the tambourine enters, playing the pattern indicated on the music. At measure 17 the first time, the cowbell enters. The second time, the jingle bells begin. The first time at measure 25, it's the drums turn to make an entrance along with the claps. On the repeat, the triangle joins the party. By measure 33 (where the marching band begins to play on the recording), all percussion instruments are in and playing their pattern. From this point, they simply continue to the last bar where they pause after beat one and hit the button on beat four together. Really kind of a simple formula, though it may look daunting on paper. To help you sort it all out, we have extracted the percussion parts and included them in this issue on pages 34-36. There's also a note at the bottom of the second page of the piano/vocal score with a shorthand order listing.

More than that, we have created a rehearsal mix using just piano and percussion. You can find it free on our web site. (See details on page 82.) Encourage your students to download it, too, so they can practice their own parts. In the end, the important thing is for them to watch you for their entrance cues.

You will notice that the ostinato is notated for guitar as well as the instruments you hear on the recording. This is optional, but if you have beginning guitar players, it gives them a chance to participate as well. All the notes are on the E string, so it's easy and fun to play. As the music says, electric guitars would be more audible than acoustic, but use what you have. We have also created a TAB part, in case your students prefer to read that way. You can find it on our web site as well. (See details on page 82.)

The song is a blast to sing and it will really stick with you! The one tricky part is at measure 25. The first time there, the singing stops abruptly and the clapping begins. Also at this point, the alto sax player (Jim Farrelly) begins ad libbing, and quite nicely, we might add. To this point, he has been playing the melody. When the singing resumes the second time at measure 25, singers should be able to continue clapping, as the rhythm is quite natural.

Kind of a neat thing happens at measure 33 which you might want to point out to your kids. A corps style marching band background joins in, blatting tubas and all. Do your students recognize the motif the upper brass are playing? (It's the opening piece of melody from the first song of the revue. This in effect ties the beginning and the end of the whole show together with music!)

As with most of our revues, we recommend you use the finale again for your bow music. Play it in its entirety as an instrumental background while bows are taken. Or start it as an instrumental only, then let singers and performers join in on your cue. Alternately, fade it out when bows are finished. Don't forget to rehearse this part.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.