Review: Advent Carol Service

Category: Music

There can be no doubt that this year’s Advent Carol Service was perhaps one of the most special in living memory. 

A packed and beautifully decorated Chapel is unquestionably the perfect setting to celebrate the new Christian year and the Choir’s contribution to this exquisite occasion was colossal. 

VIDEO: Advent Carol Service 2015

The choice of music selected by Choirmaster Alex Hodgkinson was predominantly English (Vaughan Williams, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Andrew Carter and our very own Adam Staines) and a pleasing blend of classic and the more adventurous perfectly complemented by the readings - the highlight, perhaps, being Christmas by Sir John Betjeman.  From the outset the Choir’s introit, 'The Truth from Above' was positive, well-paced in tempo and totally secure in pitch offering the perfect start and allowing the Choir to move effortlessly and seamlessly through the service under the expert guidance and fastidious direction of Hodgkinson. 

There were some delightful musical highlights – Simon Whalley’s descant in 'O come, O come, Emmanuel' was a treat, as was the Junior Singers in 'Lady, My Lord Will Come' with Adam Staines as both conductor and composer.  The latter was particularly atmospheric and perfectly crafted.  Perhaps the most arresting musical moment come as the Choir sang 'A Maiden Most Gentle', leaving the congregation spellbound with its beauty of line and phrase. 

Altogether, a memorable and moving occasion and the perfect overture to Christmas. 

Philip Dukes
Artistic Director
Twitter: @MCol_Music

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