Good Christian Men, Rejoice

adapted/arr. Karl Hitzemann

"Good Christian Men, Rejoice" is a classic old carol with origins dating back to the 14th century. It's a familiar and uplifting tune that really captures the spirit of Christmas. Our arrangement includes unison vocals and a rhythm band ensemble made up of finger cymbals, triangle, hand drum, and jingle bells. As indicated on the music, you can have the finger cymbals and triangle start things off, and then have the hand drum and jingle bells join in on the 2nd and 3rd verse, respectively. Or, have all the instruments play their part every time. You could also use different types of rhythm band instruments, or even add some if you'd like. While we suggest the instruments only play during bars 5-8 and 26-29, as always, you can adapt this as you prefer.

If using sacred music in your program isn't possible, consider using this song as a rhythm band showcase and just have the singers sing "lu" on the melody. You could also come up with secular lyrics such as "Good friends of mine rejoice. With heart and hand and voice."

For our treatment of this carol, we used a brass quintet, along with drums and suspended cymbal. For a really joyous effect, a pipe organ joins in on the last verse. There is also a piccolo trumpet playing hints at several other well-known carols during the interludes. The brass quintet gives you the sense of old English carolers standing outside of Ebenezer Scrooge's office on Christmas Eve. And since it is a well-known piece, consider inviting the audience to sing along as well. Print the lyrics you will be using in the program or project them onto a screen or wall during the performance.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.