Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009

Held on Saturday 19 December at 7.30pm and Sunday 20 December 2009 at 2.30pm at Chiltern Edge School, Sonning Common.

Voices raised in praise of tradition

On the last weekend before Christmas, there’s a tradition in Sonning Common — to sing carols with the South Chiltern Choral Society.

Of course there’s much more to it than that. But what the audience really want to do is to listen to a visiting children’s choir, have a drink and mince pie in the interval and sing their hearts out.

There’s time for music old, music new, serious music, light-hearted moments and the latest John Rutter composition. And it’s so popular that they have to repeat the Saturday evening concert on Sunday afternoon.

The choir performed Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with a wonderful young soloist, Alex Norton. This is a very challenging piece and although careless in places, there were some really moving passages. It’s a very wild piece and can easily slip out of control. I did feel that the small accompaniment of harp, percussion and organ wasn’t really enough to balance the large choir but it was certainly possible to appreciate the real quality of this work. For many people it is a real joy to join a choir just to sing. Gwyn Arch, musical director, offers his choir great music and an opportunity to sing it well.

Kidmore End Primary school choir was in cracking form and sang some excellent pieces including different settings of traditional carols, an excerpt from Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and joined with the main choir in a piece by John Rutter. These children really have got a fine sense of music and it was really enjoyable.

Then we heard the South Chiltern Choral Society sing A Christmas Mass by Ronald Corp, which was a curious piece with excerpts from more than 75 carol melodies. It was an attempt to bring together all the popular Christmas music in one place but it was very frustrating to listen to as there was no continuity. It was however very well sung by the choir.

We finished the concert with O Come all ye Faithful; a village truly prepared for Christmas, followed by White Christmas. Sometimes tradition is all. J.E.

Back to past concerts.

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