There must be something about the first snowfall that sets people, rather musicians, into full-on Christmas mode. I am always surprised by how sharply one of my arrangement's sales picks up just after Halloween. "Jingle Bells" for 2-Part Children's Chorus.
Years ago I needed a special song for my elementary school chorus. The children were showing signs of wanting a bit of a challenge. They said that they were ready to do HARMONY songs. (Okay, maybe those were my own children who were pressing hard for this.) At any rate, I asked them if they would like a song where the altos actually sing a "Bass" part. That got the boy's ears to perk up. "Yeah! We can do it!"
So I went home and wrote out a version of "Jingle Bells" that incorporated bits and pieces of an arrangement my Aunt Janie Thompson had us sing as a family for many years. But I put my own spin on it and created a "Bass" part for the altos (in this case --- the Boys of my Chorus).
Often, getting boys to sing when they are of a certain age is challenging. They tend to think that their voices are changing WHEN THEY ARE NOT. One of the sneaky ways I have found is to help them feel special and foundational to the success of the chorus. I explain that having the Bass under the Melody is like building the foundation to a house. The building cannot stand without a firm foundation. My 4th and 5th grade boys got that analogy and did a great job learning their most important part. (They didn't have to know that they were still singing in the Treble Clef.)
This "Jingle Bells" version can be performed in a way that looks more impressive than it really is. What was even more impressive was that I conducted as I played the piano standing up. (The accompaniment includes some very easy flourishes that "wow" the audience.) The kids get to sing a "canon" on the verses that I explain is very challenging. So when they get it, they are quite pleased with themselves. And then they get to sing HARMONY on the chorus with the boys singing the "bass" line. Oooh.....so coooool!
I have had kids, now grown-ups, tell me that they still remember the "bass" part they learned in Elementary school and sing it every time they go out caroling.
Now that's longevity!
"Jingle Bells" 2-Part Children YouTube Video