This Magic Season

by Teresa Jennings

This extremely pleasant song will work well as an opener or featured "big tune" in your Christmas, holiday, winter, or seasonal performances. As the title intimates, there is a magic to the season that is universal for all manner of celebrations. The lyrics underscore that sense of a "feeling" more than anything actually tangible. Yet we all know and understand it well.

Written in cut time, the tune clips along pretty quickly, though it maintains a rather relaxed groove as it goes. It has a lot of energy, but it's understated, which is pretty subtle and even sophisticated for kids. But it works! It begins in a rather subdued manner and builds to a heightened joyfulness that peaks at the coda. Afterwards, it winds down again, ending as gently as it began, complete with tinkling wind chimes that allude to the "magic" of it all.

To make it a more musical presentation, have your singers watch dynamics, breath marks, and other nuances, like scoops. In particular, have them watch out for the transition into the coda where the melody is different than it was the first time they were at a similar spot in the music. Plus, it goes into the "la's," which is also different.

While the song could work as a unison piece, it really comes to life so beautifully on the D.S. when part 2 enters. Naturally, we do recommend trying to use it. If you are uncertain about incorporating part 2 with your usual choir or class, we typically suggest supplementing with a few helpers from older classes, or even teachers or parents. And, of course, you can always use the full performance version of the song from the recording for reinforcement, if you wish. For help in teaching part 2, we have created an isolated rehearsal track for you to use. You can find this for free on our web site, (See details in the box on page 78.)

Since this has a world beat groove, you may want to add some of your own percussion to it as well. On the recording you will hear such things as congas and shekere, but you could certainly layer it further with maracas, hand drums, triangles, tambourines, cowbells, and so on. Consider adding a little at a time so that it builds with the music. Then as the tune gets lighter and quieter toward the end, thin out your percussionists as well, slowing or completely stopping at the molto ritard at measure 106.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.