Staff Holiday Picks 2019

It’s that time of year again—we’re back with our 2019 Harp Column staff holiday music picks! We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite holiday solos and ensembles to download right here, right now. Don’t forget to check out staff picks from previous years.  Enjoy!

Kimberly’s Picks

Harp Column founder Kimberly Rowe designed and curated the Harp Column Music catalog from the ground up! 

Carols for Beginners
Meinir Heulyn—solo harp
Welsh harpist Meinier Heulyn joined Harp Column Music this year, and we can’t add her arrangements fast enough! Although many of Meinir’s works are for more advanced harpists, her Carols for Beginners collection fills a great gap in the repertoire for true beginners. If you or your students have been playing a very short time this is the holiday carol collection for you!

A Christmas Medley
Jan Jennings—solo harp
Are you a fan of Harp Column music review editor Jan Jennings? Then you’ll be happy to know that she has her own holiday music collection now available for instant download at Harp Column Music! A Christmas Medley includes three popular carols strung together in a medley format. It’s a great challenge for advanced beginners, and sight readable for higher levels.

Jazzy Christmas Songs
Pedal Sliders—solo harp
This collection was one of my picks last year, and I’m repeating it again this year because I just can’t get enough of this great collection from the Pedal Sliders (aka Amanda Whiting and Tony Robinson). Their traditional carol arrangements sound fresh and new with jazzy harmonies, and their upbeat and fun original tunes have a holiday feel. You won’t be disappointed with this one!

Stephanie’s Picks

Harp Column’s news editor Stephanie Gustafson is also principal harpist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and performs and teaches in Houston.

I Wonder As I Wander
John Wickey—two harps
Ethereal is really the best word to describe this carol, and what can better to evoke that mood than a delicate harp duet? This 4-minute advanced arrangement starts with a very (pun intended) wandering introduction, utilizing harmonics and a little plucking underneath the fingernails to great effect.

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Evelyn Tiffany–Castiglioni—harp solo
I’m always on the lookout for great holiday arrangements for my harp students. Without fail, every November, most will ask, “When can we start working on Christmas songs?” I’m glad to have another home run to offer my adult beginners itching to build up their holiday repertoire without stressing too much about it being too technically challenging.

Festive Fantasy
Harriet Adie—harp solo
Most years, I play a handful of concerts with a holiday brass ensemble, where I’m asked to offer interludes while they rest their lips. It’s an intimidating request to find solos that can compete with a 13–piece brass band, and I’m pleased to share this one fits the bill. This medley blends 12 (!) holiday favorites in one piece and is sure to impress any Scrooges who might be listening to your set.

Amy’s Picks

Composer-harpist Amy Nam helps us with a multitude of projects at Harp Column Music and Harp Column Academy. (Have you read her latest blog?)

Appalachian Christmas Duets
John Wickey—two harps
John Wickey’s series of Appalachian Christmas Duets comprise two-harp arrangements of I Wonder As I Wander, Cradle Hymn, and Rise Up Shepherd and Follow. All arrangements exude a classic and reverential feeling, perfect for sacred settings. Plus, all arrangements have lovely live recordings to listen to if you need some help deciding!

Huron Carol
Harriet Adie—harp solo
Engaging enough to perform as a solo concert piece and mild enough to use for your holiday background music gigs, Harriet Adie incorporates jazz and folk harmonies in crafting this haunting arrangement of “Huron Carol.” If you are looking for calming and healing music at an intermediate level, you will love “Huron Carol”!

Christmas Present
Whitney Dobyns—harp solo
Whitney Dobyns’s Christmas Present includes six arrangements as creative as they are elegant! If you’re looking for more substantial arrangements that can be played on lever harp, you’ve come to the right place. With it’s simple and enduring beauty, you’ll be reaching for this collection again and again.

Elizabeth’s Picks

Elizabeth Jaxon is Harp Column’s circulation manager and jack of all trades. She is also an accomplished harpist currently living in the Netherlands! 

Three Christmas Carols
Carol Woods—voice and harp
Carol Wood captures the spirit of the holidays perfectly in these three original Christmas carols. They make a refreshing addition to any harpist’s standard Christmas repertoire, since most audiences will not yet have heard Wood’s melodies, and yet they are still unmistakably of the season. Best of all, you can invite a fellow musician to cover the vocal line, and what is Christmas music about if not coming together!

Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
Kim Robertson—harp solo
Kim Robertson’s music fits comfortably in the hands and is clear and easy to read, and this charming Polish carol is no exception. A pleasure to play, this clear and simple arrangement is accessible to both lever and pedal harpists.

Whit Dudley—four harps
A must-have for every harp ensemble holiday concert, Whit Dudley’s arrangement of this much-loved Christmas classic is sure to delight listeners. Parts can be adapted to be played on either pedal or lever harp, so everyone can join in. And best of all, proceeds from your purchase benefit the Whit Dudley Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Texas.

Kristina’s Picks

Dr. Kristina Finch is host of over 50 Harp Column podcasts! She also performs as a soloist and ensemble player throughout Florida and beyond. 

First Snow
Nadia Birkenstock—harp solo
This lovely and extremely playable arrangement is a great addition to any gigging musicians book!  Playable on both lever and pedal harp, it evokes the peaceful quiet and anticipation of fun that come along with the first snow of the season.  This is a great little piece that can be performed at Holiday background gigs of all kinds, and even better than that, because it isn’t overtly “holiday-ish” can transfer into your normal gig book with ease!

English Carols
Star Edwards—solo harp
This collection of 18 traditional English Carol arrangements offers a wealth of beautiful and often familiar songs that will please and excite audiences.  Designed to be played on Celtic harp, these arrangements are just as easily played on the pedal harp.  My personal favorite in the book is “The Salutation of the Angel” a lovely arrangement that begs to be repeated at length with improvisations and variations!

Let There Be Peace on Earth
Debbie Vinick—harp solo
There is just something about this song that gets me.  I have played multiple arrangements of it throughout the years and have yet to find one I like as much as Debbie’s!  Equally at home on the performance stage or at a holiday party the meaning of this song transcends simple music and invites us all to be better.  This arrangement is lush, playable, and accessible far beyond the holiday season!

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