There's always an extra special feeling about the Christmas Concert
when it takes place very close to the day itself; as one of the
audience remarked, "it
means Christmas is almost here". This year the Town Hall was full to
overflowing on December 22nd.
The evening began with Once in Royal David's City, the
first verse sung as a solo by a choir member , as has become something
of a tradition. More
traditional carols were to follow, joined in with gusto by the
delighted audience, at M.D Christopher Cromar's urging. The exuberance
of these well -known
and much loved carols was then hushed by the choir's exquisite
unaccompanied singing of Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium, a beautiful piece
composed in 1994. Two other recently-written carols were sung and much applauded during the evening; Susanni by Richard Rodney Bennett, written in
1967, and Bob Chilcott's haunting Lully, Lulla, Thou Little Tiny Child, published in his Carols 1 in 2004.
Andrew Green made the organ thunder in his two solos, Garth Edmundson's Prelude on Von Himmel Hoch and Winter Wonderland by Dick Smith
and Felix Bernard.
Woven into the programme were five readings, which had been most aptly
chosen by Diana Lane, who read with clarity and expression. Dylan
atmospheric A Child's Christmas in Wales delighted the audience with its quirkiness and wit, as did John Julius Norwich's parodyThe Twelve Days of Christmas - a Correspondence. The final reading was, most fittingly, from Isaiah, Chapter 9; For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.
At the end of the concert, audience members said they really enjoyed
the variety and breadth of the programme and that it was a magical
night. Then it was
out into the cold darkness, with Christmas just around the corner,
still singing our last carol; Hark The Herald Angels ……. .