26 Orchestra Pieces Perfect for Your Holiday Concerts

It’s that time of year again! Time to start planning for your holiday orchestra concerts! And Tempo Press has all your needs covered. Whether you’re looking for string or full orchestra, beginner, intermediate or advanced, you’re sure to find the sheet music you are looking for here.  

Full Orchestra

March of the Toys from Babes in Toyland

This accessible arrangement for ensembles who might find the original work’s difficult key and tricky 9/8 rhythms cumbersome, keeps the overall effects of the operetta the same. Lightness in style is key throughout the piece, as the toys are heard approaching, presented, and then passing into the distance.

Mother Ginger from The Nutcracker

Taken from a dance in Act II of this famous ballet, the melodies are comprised of French folksongs. Tchaikowsky’s brilliant orchestration is largely intact in this arrangement for modern orchestras.

An Old World Christmas

Travel the world this holiday season! Travel to Catalonia with Cold December Flies Away, then to Canada for Twas in the Moon of Wintertime, the first Canadian carol. Infant Holy, Infant Lowly brings us to Poland then onto England for Coventry Carol. Finally, land in the Middle Ages with the Latin Hymn In Dulci Jubilo.

Sleigh Ride German Dance, K. 605, No. 3

This is a very easy arrangement that captures Mozart at his most charming. Great fun for an elementary or middle school holiday concert.

Trepak from The Nutcracker

Although greatly simplified for easy-level players, this arrangement is still quite accessible and capable of being played at a quick tempo. While particularly appropriate for holiday concerts, it works at any time of the year.

String Orchestra

Adeste Fideles from Weihnachtsbaum

Taken from the Christmas Tree suite, this alternative holiday song includes independent bass and cello parts. Maturity in the ensemble is essential to achieve richness in tone and balance.

Carol Celebration

Celebrate the holidays with this work. Includes: Coventry Carol; Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella; See Amid the Winter’s Snow; and Jingle Bells.

Christmas Concerto Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 8

The best known of Corelli’s op. 6, this arrangement remains in first position with the bass requiring shifts between half and first positions. A third violin (viola treble clef) as well as a piano part are included in the set.

Classic Chanukah Medley

“Classic Chanukah Medley” is a collection of four traditional Chanukah songs with a few interconnecting themes arranged for string orchestra.

“Chanukah” is generally played as an upbeat, major-key song. However, here we have more of a “movie” theme interpretation using minor and major-key harmonies to reflect Jewish history’s sadness and joy. “Maoz Tzur is a happy and triumphant Chanukah song reflecting the resiliency of the Jewish people and pride in their heritage. “The Dreidel Song” – a dreidel is a spinning toy. Fast triplet passages and running patterns of sixteenth notes are used to symbolize the spinning of the dreidel. The melody of “Chanukah” is interwoven with the dreidel melody. Also, using a minor-key interpretation, along with the usual major key, this reminds us of the struggles throughout Jewish history. A little motif from “1812” Overture introduces the dreidel section and appears throughout. “Al Hanissim” uses the Spanish/Jewish scale and is very representative of traditional Jewish music.

And it ends on a joyous note!

Coventry Carol

Jason Krug has arranged this famous medieval carol for string orchestra. Perfect for your beginning orchestra’s winter concert.

Fantasia on Two Christmas Themes

Based on “Good King Wenceslas” and “Tidings of Joy”, this arrangement in G major and e minor features a section for soloists.

Final Waltz from The Nutcracker

Following the famous Pas de Deux, this challenging final waltz combines many popular melodies from earlier in the ballet in a dazzling spectacle of technique, lyricism, and style.

Here We Come A-wassailing

Capture the joy of the holiday season in this mixed-meter arrangement where bowing should be light and dance-like.

Jingle Bells Gone Wrong: A Shocking Set of Variations for String Orchestra

Jingle Bells Gone Wrong: A Shocking Set of Variations for String Orchestra provides an educational and entertaining opportunity to explore this seasonal favorite set in minor mode and five highly-stylized variations. The result holiday fun for both students and audience. Sleigh Bells and optional Drum Set add to the performance experience.

Joy to the World

This Christmas classic is a must for any holiday performance. Elegantly arranged for stings, this piece helps accent the strength that can be produced from the violin. The movement up and down the major scales helps reinforce the lessons learned in practice.

Joyeux

A fun, original holiday piece for string orchestra from popular composer Mark Barnard.

Mother Ginger from The Nutcracker

Though not one of the best-known segments of The Nutcracker, Mother Ginger provides an example of Tchaikovsky at his most colorful. There is extensive use of divisi in this arrangement, and the rhythmic challenges are considerable. This is a wonderful concert or contest selection for the advanced-intermediate orchestra.

Old Provençal Christmas Song from Weihnachtsbaum

Best described by the tempo marking, allegro giocoso, meaning “lively and playful”, this is another alternative to standard holiday selections. This work originally appeared in the Christmas Tree suite. Bowing style is essential, and the viola section has the opportunity to be the featured voice in several passages.

Pachelbel Christmas Canon

A work that weaves together favorite melodies of the season with the ever-popular Pachelbel bass line. All string sections are featured!

Sinfonia for the Second Day of Christmas from The Christmas Oratorio

With the addition of cello and bass parts instead of a traditional continuo, this arrangement maintains the characteristics of the original version.

Sleigh Ride German Dance, K. 605, No. 3

One of Mozart’s best-known lighter works, it lends itself quite nicely to an easy arrangement that is all in first position for young string players. With sleigh bells and easy glockenspiel parts (great for young percussionists) giving it extra joy and lift, this is a great addition to any elementary or middle school orchestra’s holiday concert. An easy, full orchestra arrangement is also available.

String Noel!

Commissioned and arranged for a community orchestra, String Noel! is a holiday medley for string orchestra with an optional sing-along featuring Joy to the WorldGod Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen I Saw Three ShipsStill, Still, Still and Angels We Have Heard on High.

The Shepherds' Farewell from L'Enfance du Christ

This popular selection from L’Enfance du Christ is frequently performed around the holidays, but is suitable for any time of year.

Three Yuletide Carols

Three Yuletide Carols is a grade 3 setting of three well-known holiday songs: Adeste FidelisUkranian Bell Carol, and Pat-a-pan.

Trepak from The Nutcracker

Even the youngest orchestras can play this arrangement briskly and at the frog. When played up to tempo, it sounds much more difficult than it actually is. As a result, it is not only a great concert piece but also a great way to boost the confidence of advancing players.

Ukrainian Bell Carol

Another excellent arrangement from Mark Barnard. Everyone loves this holiday classic and this arrangement is a must have.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Spotlight

Spotlight: David Manuel Garcia

Now teaching in the after-school program at Tewksbury Memorial High School, Dr. David Manuel Garcia previously held positions as Associate Professor of Music and Program

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our mailing list

Be the first to know about new music, exciting news, deals and more!