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from the Wokingham Times, December 2010

Fine singing heralds Christmas

All Saints Church
 

As shops and streets introduce Christmas decorations ever earlier, the Wokingham Choral Society's Carol Concert increasingly marks the true beginning of the festive season.

On 11 December the Society presented a particularly rich and varied programme to a packed church at All Saints. As usual, perennial favourites for the audience to sing were interspersed with more unusual carols, providing a platform for the choir to display its impressive musicality, including solo parts by members of the choir during In dulci jubilo.

Stimulating contrasts were the hallmark of the evening. Early on, Warlock's haunting harmonies in Adam lay ybounden were immediately followed by the spiky heartiness of Mathias' Sir Christèmas. In turn, the brilliant accompanist, Christopher Cromar, after a poignant rendering of Bach's choral prelude, Sleepers Awake, later stunned the audience with the finale from Vierne's First Organ Symphony.

 

This year the Society was again joined by Berkshire Young Voices, 28 youngsters who performed a delightful programme of four carols. The contrast between the unusual arrangement of Silent Night and The Saviour's Come, based on a Swahili tune, was especially striking.

The Voices were conducted by Peter Hunt who, owing to the indisposition of Alexander Chaplin, stepped in at the eleventh hour to conduct also the WCS. The result was a credit to everyone and the performance came to a rousing end with Rutter's Joy to the world, sung by both choirs, and We wish you a merry Christmas.

Wokingham Choral Society's next concert will be in Bearwood College on Sunday, 10 April 2011, when the programme will include Brahms' German Requiem and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story arranged for two pianos.


  R. J. Eaglen