Review: Advent Carol Services

Category: Music

As the end of the long Michaelmas term rolls into view, the Marlborough College community has been treated to four packed Christmas Carol Services under the expert direction of new Choirmaster, Mr Adam Staines. 

The service followed the format of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols as pioneered by Bishop Benson at Truro Cathedral in 1880. Four very brave choristers had the honour of commencing the service with the famous solo verse of Once in Royal David’s City. Anna Laakkonen (MO U6), Georgia Beattie (IH U6), Jessica Walsh-Waring (EL U6), and Francesca Hamilton (MO U6) all produced a beautifully atmospheric opening and their high standard was maintained and amplified by the Chapel Choir from thereon in.   

The variety of music was eclectic, ranging from sixteenth-century counterpoint to the so-called ‘vertical minimalism’ of contemporary America.  Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without John Rutter, whose vibrant Star Carol perfectly captured the celebratory tone. A personal highlight was an anthem by British composer: Will Todd’s sublime My Lord Has Come. The expansive choral writing atop a low bass drone allowed the choir’s talents to shine, with many a tear shed in the congregation.

The beautiful was not at the expense of the bombastic, however, as the traditional descants, complemented by a new fanfare by AOJS and three trumpets, threatened to blow the roof off the chapel. 

All in all, a wonderful way to see off the last weekend of the term – the holidays beckon and all ought to be congratulated on a truly stellar job. 

James Bartlett
Graduate Music Assistant & Trainee Teacher

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