Review: Carol Services

Category: Music, General, Events

A time for celebration, a time for reflection, a time of anticipation. Just a few thoughts which perhaps cross our minds as we approach the end of a long term. There can surely be no better way to pause and consider these sensations than in attending one of the four Christmas carol services, held as always in our magnificent Chapel, decorated once again to perfection.

The full choir is very much the focal point of these services, which are a blend of congregational singing, seasonal readings, prayers, and carols dating from the 16th century to the present day.

With additional features of fanfare trumpets, an organ voluntary from Annabel Hannan (Music Scholar, Re MO) some deft and nimble playing from College organist Ian Crabbe, and all manner of solos littering the repertoire (special praise to Libby Adam (U6 MM), Issy Carr (U6 EL), Tertia Paterson (U6 MO), and Chloe Hubbard (U6 IH) for 'Once in Royal', and Christopher Beswick (L6 C1) and Jonathan Venn (U6 C3) for their tenor solos in Harold Darke's 'In the Bleak Midwinter') this was vintage stuff.

Choirmaster Alex Hodgkinson was also in fine form, and with clever use of the space in Chapel, a number of different components of the main choir (Chamber Choir and Compline Choir) offered pleasing variety to good effect. It might be invidious to single out one particular carol that, above all, really captured the moment but there can surely be nothing more exquisite than Philip Stopford's arrangement of Lully Lullay Lulla, a heart-rendingly beautiful carol, perfectly complemented by the murmuring of a tiny baby in the congregation.

Altogether then, a magnificent spectacle where reflection, celebration and the anticipation of all that is to come was perfectly encapsulated in one glorious weekend.

Philip Dukes
Artistic Director


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