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The Ultimate Christmas Concert

At six forty-five on a damp, gusty December evening, the audience began assembling—from the River and from the Village. They were greeted with music on the air: Sounding Brass (our affiliated virtuoso Brass Ensemble) were playing Christmas favourites at the church porch by lantern light. Inside the church itself the atmosphere was equally magical, with Holy Trinity’s mediaeval arches and aisles lit throughout by candles on dozens of tall brackets that rose up from the pews. Seven thirty came with every seat filled, and the concert opened to Hodie Christus Natus Est, sung as distant plainsong from the furthest corner of the building. Our audience shared in Once in Royal, after which the choir’s male voices came into view to sing Zion hört die Wächter singen (from Bach’s ‘Sleepers Wake’ cantata) with organ accompaniment. And then the whole choir assembled to perform the gentler and more meditative part of the programme, which was punctuated with enthusiastically sung communal carols—to brass accompaniment. The first half concluded with Pearsall’s beautiful arrangement of In Dulci Jubilo, leaving an opportunity for invited representatives from our two chosen charities to make some moving speeches about their work and aims. Mulled wine, mince pies and a great meeting of friends filled the interval, until a dazzling trumpet fanfare announced the second part. Here, Deck the Hall and Gardner’s zippy arrangement of The Holly and the Ivy immediately set a lighter tone, and this festive pace gathered towards the end of the evening with It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, the comedy item The Twelve Days after Christmas and We Wish you a Merry Christmas (sung as an encore). The audience had been canvassed during the weeks before the concert for requests. These made up a substantial part of the programme, and the popular choices were: Rutter’s Candlelight Carol; O Holy Night; The Shepherds’ Farewell (Berlioz); Elizabeth Poston’s Jesus Christ the Apple Tree; and, of course, Darke’s In the Bleak Midwinter. “The Ultimate Christmas Concert” was a bold title indeed—but we all really enjoyed the performance and felt we’d pulled it off. And, judging by the extremely generous charity donations collected as people left, our audience thought so, too!

At six forty-five on a damp, gusty December evening, the audience began assembling—from the River and from the Village. They were greeted with music on the air: Sounding Brass (our affiliated virtuoso Brass Ensemble) were playing Christmas favourites at the church porch by lantern light. Inside the church itself the atmosphere was equally magical, with Holy Trinity’s mediaeval arches and aisles lit throughout by candles on dozens of tall brackets that rose up from the pews. Seven thirty came with every seat filled, and the concert opened to Hodie Christus Natus Est, sung as distant plainsong from the furthest corner of the building. Our audience shared in Once in Royal, after which the choir’s male voices came into view to sing Zion hört die Wächter singen (from Bach’s ‘Sleepers Wake’ cantata) with organ accompaniment. And then the whole choir assembled to perform the gentler and more meditative part of the programme, which was punctuated with enthusiastically sung communal carols—to brass accompaniment. The first half concluded with Pearsall’s beautiful arrangement of In Dulci Jubilo, leaving an opportunity for invited representatives from our two chosen charities to make some moving speeches about their work and aims. Mulled wine, mince pies and a great meeting of friends filled the interval, until a dazzling trumpet fanfare announced the second part. Here, Deck the Hall and Gardner’s zippy arrangement of The Holly and the Ivy immediately set a lighter tone, and this festive pace gathered towards the end of the evening with It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, the comedy item The Twelve Days after Christmas and We Wish you a Merry Christmas (sung as an encore). The audience had been canvassed during the weeks before the concert for requests. These made up a substantial part of the programme, and the popular choices were: Rutter’s Candlelight Carol; O Holy Night; The Shepherds’ Farewell (Berlioz); Elizabeth Poston’s Jesus Christ the Apple Tree; and, of course, Darke’s In the Bleak Midwinter. “The Ultimate Christmas Concert” was a bold title indeed—but we all really enjoyed the performance and felt we’d pulled it off. And, judging by the extremely generous charity donations collected as people left, our audience thought so, too!

At six forty-five on a damp, gusty December evening, the audience began assembling—from the River and from the Village. They were greeted with music on the air: Sounding Brass (our affiliated virtuoso Brass Ensemble) were playing Christmas favourites at the church porch by lantern light. Inside the church itself the atmosphere was equally magical, with Holy Trinity’s mediaeval arches and aisles lit throughout by candles on dozens of tall brackets that rose up from the pews. Seven thirty came with every seat filled, and the concert opened to Hodie Christus Natus Est, sung as distant plainsong from the furthest corner of the building. Our audience shared in Once in Royal, after which the choir’s male voices came into view to sing Zion hört die Wächter singen (from Bach’s ‘Sleepers Wake’ cantata) with organ accompaniment. And then the whole choir assembled to perform the gentler and more meditative part of the programme, which was punctuated with enthusiastically sung communal carols—to brass accompaniment. The first half concluded with Pearsall’s beautiful arrangement of In Dulci Jubilo, leaving an opportunity for invited representatives from our two chosen charities to make some moving speeches about their work and aims. Mulled wine, mince pies and a great meeting of friends filled the interval, until a dazzling trumpet fanfare announced the second part. Here, Deck the Hall and Gardner’s zippy arrangement of The Holly and the Ivy immediately set a lighter tone, and this festive pace gathered towards the end of the evening with It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, the comedy item The Twelve Days after Christmas and We Wish you a Merry Christmas (sung as an encore). The audience had been canvassed during the weeks before the concert for requests. These made up a substantial part of the programme, and the popular choices were: Rutter’s Candlelight Carol; O Holy Night; The Shepherds’ Farewell (Berlioz); Elizabeth Poston’s Jesus Christ the Apple Tree; and, of course, Darke’s In the Bleak Midwinter. “The Ultimate Christmas Concert” was a bold title indeed—but we all really enjoyed the performance and felt we’d pulled it off. And, judging by the extremely generous charity donations collected as people left, our audience thought so, too!