Staff Holiday Picks 2018

We’re back with our favorite Harp Column Music holiday downloads, hand-picked by the HC staff! Check out what we’re loving this holiday season. (While you’re here, don’t forget to take a peek at our favorites from 2016.)

Kristina’s picks

Kristina Finch produces the Harp Column Podcast. (Check it out right here!) She performs for events and orchestras throughout southern Florida. 

I Wonder as I Wander
Cindy Horstman—solo
I love the Latin jazz take on this Christmas standard! The jazzy feel gives an old familiar tune a new twist.

Silver Bells
Liana Alpino—solo
Liana grew up in the same harp program that I did in Williamsburg, Virg., and I was so excited to see her name on one of these new arrangements! It’s a tuneful and lush arrangement of a classic.

Festive Fantasy
Harriet Adie—solo
I love a good medley! Harriet Adie’s showstopper blends together familiar melodies in various styles. It’s a great beginning or end to a holiday program!

Alison’s Picks

Alison Reese edits the print edition of Harp Column. She lives in western Michigan where she frequently plays with the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Bernard’s Christmas
Megan Metheney—solo
I was immediately drawn to this collection because I love Bernard Andres’ music, and I was intrigued about how Megan Metheney would weave them into Christmas carols. She does a masterful job of seamlessly stitching together one of Andres’ tunes with a Christmas tune. Whether you pick and choose your favorites from her 25-piece collection or indulge in the full set, you are sure to enjoy these little gems.

O Holy Night
Jodi Ann Tolman—solo
This carol is always at the top of the list of favorites for my adult harp students, but it is difficult to find a harp arrangement that is playable for beginner to intermediate harpists. Jodi Ann Tolman has made this piece technically accessible to the beginner lever harpist, and managed to eliminate most of the tricky lever changes that make it such a bear to perform. This is the perfect introduction to Adolphe Adam’s beloved tune.

Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night)
Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher—solo, harp and voice
Not only do my adult harp students love this piece, but evidently so do church music directors who often program it on Christmas Eve. I can’t tell you the number of times that a last-minute program change or nervous soloist has necessitated a change in key for this piece, and as I’m not one to transpose in my head, Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher’s arrangement saves the day (…or night). She includes the piece in five different keys for accompaniment, as well as two keys in solo arrangements.

Music for Christmas
Alyssa Reit—harp and cello or horn
Looking for a couple pieces to play with horn or cello this Christmas? Alyssa Reit’s collection of duos fits the bill. They are fun to play, and they will keep you on your toes without adding more stress to the holiday season. Bonus points—she even throws in a few tunes that are off the beaten path, giving you a much-needed break from the typical holiday playlist.

Stephanie’s picks

Stephanie Gustafson is Harp Column’s news editor. When she’s not busy scooping out harp headlines, you can find her playing principal harp with the Baton Rouge Symphony and freelancing around Houston. 

Two Christmas Medleys
Sylvia Woods—solo
I’m a sucker for a good medley, and I am drawn to “moodier” Christmas music, so the Arabian
Dance+We Three Kings mash–up was basically written for me. The piece is lever–friendly and is
great for students looking to add some depth to their Christmas repertoire. Bonus: this pick also
includes a fun medley of two traditional Russian carols, which is an instant mood–booster.

Silver Bells
Liana Alpino—solo
Somehow, I hadn’t acquired music for Silver Bells until I discovered this harp–friendly arrangement. It’s flashy in all the right ways—interesting for listeners but not too stressful for the harpist. Not only will your left hand get to join in on the fun, playing a whimsical arpeggiated line throughout the chorus, but Liana Alpino wrote out a second verse with a cool, contrasting accompaniment, keeping things interesting throughout the whole piece.

In the Bleak Midwinter
Sylvia Woods—solo
Sometimes you just want something that showcases the beauty of the harp without too many bells and whistles. The arrangement is simple (no lever or pedal changes!) but stunning. The music includes three verses all with slight variations and uses a delightful interlude to tie them together. It’s one of my favorites for refined holiday parties.

Kimberly’s picks

Kimberly Rowe is the founder of Harp Column. She is also a co-founder and artist faculty at the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar and newly relocated to Boston. 

A Simple Noel
Rhett Barnwell—solo
Rhett’s newest arrangement, based on “The First Noel,” is hot off the press in time for the holidays! While you may already have this tune in your repertoire, Rhett’s new take will freshen up your holiday set list.

Jazzy Christmas Songs
Pedal Sliders—solo
I can’t get enough of the Pedal Sliders’ arrangements. They’re super creative, with modern harmonies, and just really fun to play! This collection includes some jazzed up traditional carols, along with some original compositions written in a holiday style. (Trust me—they work!)

Light So Brilliant
Stephanie Claussen—solo
Stephanie Claussen’s collection includes 49 jam-packed pages of carols. Your audience will love the familiar melodies, and you’ll love her creative arrangements that include clever medleys and interesting harmonies.

Customer Holiday Favorites

Want even more ideas? Check out our customer holiday music favorites:

Ekaterina Afanasieva

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy


Nadia Birkenstock

First Snow


Rhett Barnwell

A Simple Noël (Christmas Carol)


Stephen Dunstone

We Wish You A Merry Christmas


Cindy Horstman

What Child is This


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