Our Christmas concert took place on Sunday 7 December before a large enthusiastic audience at Wilmslow United Reformed church. In the first half, we were joined by soprano soloist Sarah Richards for a performance of Mozart’s Regina Coeli, K108. This was followed by Britten’s Ceremony of Carols accompanied by the harpist Angelina Warburton. After an interval for seasonal refreshments, the concert continued with the Choir donning a variety of festive red and white scarves for a programme of carols, mixing the traditional with the less well-known. Special thanks go to our excellent soloists and our organ accompanist, Philip Underwood.
At the end of November we were delighted to be asked to provide a small choir to take part in the filming of a comedy that was being shot locally by an independent film company, with the intention of pitching it to the BBC for screening at some time in the future. The lead actors included John Thomson and other well known faces from television. With just one week’s notice of the event, at a time when most of the choir had pre-Christmas commitments, we nevertheless rustled up a core of singers (supplemented by a few friends).
The main challenge was – what could we sing with no music and no rehearsal? The request was for something ‘gospelly’ and upbeat, so we settled on Go Tell it on the Mountain, which everyone knew. While all the lights and other paraphernalia were being set up, our Chairman, Doug Macdonald – a very able pianist – got us all into a very happy mood with sing-along versions of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Then, well warmed-up and garbed in choir gowns, we were ready to swing and clap along, with words pinned to the back of the person in front! Why didn’t someone bring a camera?
We must have provided what the director wanted, because we finished half an hour ahead of schedule. Altogether a most interesting and enjoyable experience. We look forward to seeing ourselves on the small screen in due course…
Christmas for The Barnby Choir now traditionally starts on the first Saturday in December, as for a number of years we have been invited to sing carols as a key component of the annual Christmas Fayre held in St Mary’s Church, Nether Alderley. Conducted in the beautiful candlelit setting by Jenny Limond, a choir member, and accompanied by Stephen Reynolds, we have now expanded our repertoire to include not only a range of traditional, well-known carols, some with audience participation, but also others that are less well known, including Dixit Maria, composed by our regular conductor, Lloyd Buck.
A venture that began with a small group of singers and a relatively small audience has now developed into a major event, with this year over thirty singers participating. By the time we reached our climax with a demand for ‘figgy pudding’, there was standing room only in the church. This is a truly festive engagement, written firmly into our calendar!
Later in the month, a small group from the choir entertained residents at Oakmere residential home in Handforth. We were made very welcome and all enjoyed the occasion. Doug Macdonald provided keyboard accompaniment and we sang traditional carols first, before moving on to other popular Christmas songs, such as White Christmas, Little Drummer Boy and Jingle Bells, which went down well. Afterwards we were offered sherry and mince pies – a very agreeable way to round off the afternoon!
The week before Christmas another group of Barnby singers gathered to entertain patrons of the Coach & Four on Alderley Road in Wilmslow – a regular post-rehearsal haunt! Once again, Doug did the honours on the keyboard and we sang a wide range of Christmas carols and songs. We hope the ‘audience’ enjoyed it – we certainly did! – and we appreciated the mince pies provided by the management at the end of the evening. (Unofficial prizes for best Christmas hat to Nick Seymour and for best Christmas jumper to Iain Beveridge.)