Medium: Holiday Percussion Ensemble (7-9)
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Difficulty: Grade 4
Player 1 (bells)
Player 2 (3-octave vibraphone)
Player 3 (3-octave vibraphone)
Player 4 (chimes)
Player 5 (4-octave marimba)
Player 6 (4.3-octave marimba)
Player 7 (5-octave marimba)
Player 8 (2 timpani, triangle, mark tree, suspended cymbal)
*The marimba parts may be played one one 4.3-octave and one 5-octave instrument.
Note: If 2 vibraphones or a 5-octave marimba are unavailable, you may substitute these instruments with the optional piano part. Otherwise, the piano part should not be played.
Star of Wonder was written at the request of Dr. Andrew Dancy for performance at the 2012 Marimba Christmas Concert in downtown Greensboro. With the exception of one auxiliary percussion part, the keyboard percussion instruments drive the arrangement, dividing into two families – metals (bells, vibraphones, chimes) and woods (marimbas). The arrangement begins with a reflective rendition of “I Wonder As I Wander,” characterized by subtle, ascending figures in the marimbas and a slow-moving melody in the metallic instruments. As “We Three Kings” takes over, the tempo picks up and melodic figures are thrown quickly around the ensemble. The marimbas present the initial melody with incessantly accented sixteenth notes. The metallic instruments then play the melody like a contrapuntal music box, first by themselves, then against the backdrop of “I Wonder As I Wander” in the marimbas. There is one more grandiose statement of the “Star of Wonder” chorus before the piece comes to a graceful and quiet finish.
Excerpted performance by the Concord High School Percussion ensemble, under the direction of Ben Runkel