A Handbell Hanukkah
by Karl Hitzemann
Hanukkah is a joyous time of year. So, why not celebrate it with handbells, rhythms sticks, and finger cymbals?! Oh, and singing, if you are able to. "A Handbell Hanukkah" combines all four of these elements, but would work in any combination that best suits your current needs and abilities. Of course, you always have the option of adding even more joyous instruments if you'd like. Tambourines, triangles, sand blocks, and the like, would all add to the joyousness.
The song itself is very simple and most students should be able to sing it, even your youngest. And because it's unison and repetitious, it probably won't take long to learn it. To help your young players, we have included isolated handbell and rhythm sticks/finger cymbals student parts on our web site. There is also an accompaniment track that does not include a handbell guide. Also, since your players begin in the first measure, there is a two-bar drum set-up to help them know when to start.
The lyrics of the song mention a few Hanukkah traditions such as lighting candles one by one, spinning dreidels, dancing a hora, and the fact that Hanukkah is also known as "The Festival of Lights." It also mentions the word "shalom," which can be a term of greeting or farewell and can mean "peace," "be well," "be safe," etc.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.