If you know about orchestration, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to take a simple Christmas carol and set it up for brass quintet. Right?

Carol Traupman-Carr ’86, who arranged a piece for this year’s Christmas Vespers services, has a different tale to tell.

Over the summer, she completed two brass versions of familiar songs for the Mainstreet Brass Quintet, for which she is staff arranger. Larry Lipkis, professor of music, then asked if she might arrange a Christmas carol for Vespers, and she chose “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”

In past years, the brass ensemble for the Vespers prelude has most often been a brass quartet, so she wrote for the four standard instruments: two trumpets, horn, and trombone.

She then told Lawence Wright, director of the brass ensemble, that the piece was ready. Only problem was, it turned out, that this year he was blessed with a brass octet. Carol assumed that meant double the standard instruments, and she rescored the piece. But no such luck. This octet comprised three trumpets, horn, euphonium, two trombones, and tuba, making for a much deeper overall sound.

So she again rescored. The unusual number of low instruments “required some significant shifting of parts,” she says. And she assumed the euphonium was in B-flat, but discovered when she sent the parts to Larry Wright that his player has a euphonium in C: “fortunately, only a few mouse clicks in the program I was using.”

After the second rehearsal, Larry asked her to rescore the arrangement one last time, to move a prominent part from the tuba to the first trombone, Andrew Drago ’06, the strongest player among the low brass.

This involved more than a simple shift. The original first trombone part was given to the second trombone, while the first trombone got a more complicated line. One more copy of the score and three more parts went off to the Music Department.

Following all that, “making a quintet version for the Mainstreet Brass was easy,” says Carol, who had completed six versions of the same tune in three weeks!

And all the while advising students and faculty in her day job as associate dean for academic affairs.

November 29, 2005 (pdf version)

Carol Traupman-Carr '86 arranges "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" for Vespers.

Moravian Stars:
Three children selected to sing the solo in "Morning Star" for Vespers.

At First Site:
Manipulated digital photo of the Bethlehem Steel Works by Krista Steinke Finch.

Community Chest:
Grants announed for community outreach projects.

Last issue:
InCommon says goodbye until next semester.
Disaster Watch:
LVAIC panel discussion on natural and man-made disasters.
Visitors from the South:
Displaced professors from Dillard University visit campus.
Campus calendar, November 29-December 31, 2005.
Media Matters:
Two professors write op-eds in the Morning Call.
faculty/staff/student accomplishments.
Steely Jan:
Bethlehem Steel watercolor by Jan Ciganick is in several shows.