MacNamara's Band

adapted by Teresa Jennings, arr. Paul Jennings

"MacNamara's Band" has long been a favorite song for St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrations. Originally written in 1917, it has been popular through countless sets of lyrics and a couple of almost-hit recordings, including one by Bing Crosby in the 1940s.

We have done some new things with this arrangement to make it more kid-friendly and enjoyable in a school setting. First and foremost, Teresa did a couple of clever, music-centered verses. They capture the spirit of the original without most of the colloquialisms and rambling lyrics. You can stroll through a lot of different lyrics on the web, including some that have the band at funerals and have a Swede joining the group.

During the traditional instrumental interlude, starting with the pick-up notes to bar 21, we give your kids a chance to chime in on kazoos. If you don't have these and don't want to purchase them, we give you details on how to make your own on our web site, both in the Idea Bank and as an illustrated PDF in our Downloads area.

To bring you back to the second verse, we have inserted a little section (at bar 37) that lets your students imitate the instruments from the recording, starting with tuba, then adding sliding trombones and trumpets. If all of your kids are playing kazoos, you might even want them to do their imitations on the kazoos instead. Be sure to have them also do characterizations of the instruments as they play. Ham it up and have a good time!

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.