Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book Review: Sunday Morning Holiday Companion

You might have noticed that it's been a bit quiet here at my blog recently. That's because it's been pretty quiet here at my studio as well. I'm in the midst of enjoying my term break week! Last week was a studio wrap-up week as I taught make-ups, did evaluations, and planned for the upcoming term which starts on June 13. But this week is the teacher's week off. (Let's hear it for a mini-vacation before the frenzy of summer lessons!) It's funny, because while I do enjoy my time off I still find myself thinking of my students every day and looking forward to seeing them again. However, the to-do list of household projects is keeping me plenty busy!

Yesterday a package arrived for me from Amazon :) I love getting packages in the mail- even if I already know what they are! It's even better if it's music, because while I know it's a music book the actual contents are still a bit of a mystery. Will I find some new favorites to add to my never fail go-to list? Will I discover some new favorite arrangers?

When I was searching for some new repertoire last week and considering the excellent suggestions offered by other readers, I came across this book. I was immediately intrigued by the title, "Sunday Morning Holiday Companion: 33 Timeless Selections for Worship Throughout the Year." The book was a compilation of arrangements for every season of the church year which I thought just might be a great addition as well as a very helpful resource when I was at a loss for some seasonal music. The second most intriguing factor to me was the fact that this book contained 33 selections and was on sale for less than $20. I was unfamiliar with the arranger, Victor Labenske, but I decided to give it a go and see what the book had to offer.

First impressions:

This is one FAT book! Over 120 pages of music. I was also really excited to see the large portion of patriotic music. I was a little disappointed in looking at the arrangements to see how simplistic some of them looked, but I then realized that this will be a great resource for both teacher and students :)

I got the chance to sit down and play through some of the arrangements this morning and was pleasantly surprised. These are very easily accessible arrangements, which is great for when I find myself in a last-minute music pinch, and the settings are quite refreshing, if a bit too modern for my tastes at times.

With so many pieces it will take me some time to become completely familiar with this book and form a better opinion of the arranger, but for now I'm not unpleased with the purchase.

Have you found any great church music recently? Have you ever played any arrangements by Victor Labenske?


  1. I own several of his books. My absolute favorite is a book called "Higher Ground" that was published several years ago. It's written for the advanced pianist, and has some really wonderful, orchestral-sounding arrangements. I also found it less modern than some of his other collections.

    Thanks for sharing about the new book! I hadn't seen that one yet... may have to go check it out now!

  2. Thanks for another book recommendation! I've already looked it up :)