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for the River City Brass Band, Music Director Denis Colwell
Winter Wonderland
Richard Smith/Felix Bernard, composers
Drew Fennell, arranger


Winter Wonderland is meant to portray a Fred Astaire-esque dance sequence, progressing through various tempos and styles. There are smooth and jazzy segments, syncopated swinging sections, a rollicking jazz waltz and finally a cozy ballad ending (" we sit by the fire..."). Throughout, there are some subtle (and a little corny, maybe?) quotations: my favorite is when the lyrics speak of building a snowman, and the cornet section exclaims a bit of Frosty, the Snowman. It is a sort of schizophrenic arrangement which never lands long enough in one place to get too complacent - but I think it works well enough.

The opening, with the odd-sounding (augmented chord) Jingle Bells with muted trumpets, is a direct quote from - and an homage to - what is in my opinion the greatest Christmas album of all time, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, by Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. I used to listen to side A of that record constantly during the Christmas seasons of my childhood, and even today, hearing tunes from that album brings a warm feeling.

  • Winter Wonderland is not published.

  • Hear a short sample of Winter Wonderland by the River City Brass Band, Denis Colwell, Music Director from the compact disc recording Christmas!*.

*Right click on the link and choose Save Target As... to download the file.

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