Parade Of The Wooden Bucket Band

arr. Paul Jennings

Get out your buckets, hand percussion, kazoos, Boomwhackers®, and sense of humor for this special arrangement of Leon Jessel's fun-loving "The Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers." Many people think that it comes from The Nutcracker. It doesn't. It doesn't come from the operetta Babes In Toyland either. (That's "March Of The Toys.") And it has a long, illustrious history of being performed by hundreds of groups from John Philip Sousa's band to The Boston Pops and the Rockettes.

Performance Suggestions - Probably the most important thing for your students to remember is to always use a serious approach: Look stern, unsmiling, playing in earnest. Then exaggerate the contrasts like loud and soft, staccato and legato. When they play kazoos, tell them to imagine they are first chair orchestral players, performing seriously and precisely. And, in keeping with the theme of the song, you may even want them to seem a bit "wooden" or stiff and a bit robotic. How would a wooden player play?

There is also the matter of balance. The tracks are written so that you can use any or all of the parts and it will still sound good. (You can even play along with the Full Performance version of the tune using just rhythm sticks.) One of the important considerations is the bucket parts. Some schools have every student playing on just soprano buckets, or just tenor buckets. This is fine, though you should still use both parts if you can, splitting the group with each half playing the separate bucket parts. This will make question and answer sections sound better, such as in the intro.

Also balance the number playing each part. For example, if you have 8-14 bucket players, then use 2-3 players on jingle bells. And while we don't mean to slight the instrument, note that if you normally don't use rhythm sticks, you needn't add them. The song will sound good with or without them.

We have a number of goodies available online for free to go with this song. Each of the parts has been extracted into reproducible PDFs. We also made a "student mix" audio MP3 so you and your players can listen and really hear how all the fun stuff works together. Additionally, there's a PDF with instructions for making your own kazoo, and another that teaches the basics of playing buckets.

For Boomwhackers®, there is such a wealth of information available, we actually have an entire section devoted to it on our web site, On our home page, go to Site Features at the top and choose "Boomwhacker Central" from the drop down menu. There you will find all kinds of great ideas including an article we wrote called, "Boomwhackers®: Some Notes From The Recording Studio."

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.