The Valentine Singers – a Family Carol Concert
Barnardo’s Church, Barkingside
14th December 2013
I settled excitedly into my seat, ready for the concert to begin. Having seen the Valentine Singers perform before, my hopes were high. The format of the concert was diverse – mostly very well-known yuletide favourites from a bygone era plus a mix of popular modern seasonal numbers. The elevated ceiling of the church was ideal for these musical offerings, the lofty echoing environment allowing both cheer and merriment to ring out around us. Various choir members also gave a few well-chosen unaccompanied readings which were appropriate to the time of year and greatly enjoyed by all.
I was delighted to find some of my yuletide choral friends among the eclectic menu of numbers on the programme beginning with my special favourite Past three o’clock followed by Cantemos a Maria and Gloucestershire Wassail, both completely new to me but very beautiful and I was delighted to make their acquaintance. These were followed by some old faithfuls Away in a Manger, Mary’s Cradle Song, Oh Holy night and We three Kings all accompanied radiantly on the piano by Tim Smith and Caroline Finlay.
From then the mood moved upbeat with spirited interpretations of several more modern numbers, Sleigh Ride, Santa Claus is coming to Town, Jingle Bells (how could it be omitted?), Winter Wonderland and, of course Rudolph could never be left out of any Christmas concert worthy of the name – all nicely delivered and packaged like the presents opened on December 25th.
The evening ended with the audience joining in, showing great enthusiasm with Come all ye Faithfull and (naturally) The Twelve Days of Christmas as a final rousing goodnight. The massively generous refreshments available were warmly welcomed by those seeking sustenance before going home to a well-earned night’s sleep. As in the past, this event owes much of its success to the skill and charisma of conductor, Christine Gwynn.
Let’s face it, Christmas is recognised not only as a religious event, it is also a time for indulgence and a reminder to be generous to so many others here and elsewhere in the world who are so unspeakably in want while we have far more than we really need.
Post Author: Norman Lewis