Christmas Celebration started with a melodious Glad Tidings from HCS, followed by an allcomers’ God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. After three HCS carols, including a delightfully performed Lute Book Lullaby, James Gower delivered a golden-voiced solo The Star of Bethlehem, that location being reprised with the audience carol O Little Town….

The bright-faced choristers of St Joseph’s In the Park then took the stage with two carols, including a beautifully arranged and enthusiastically sung When Christ was Born of Mary Free.

The HCS high point in the first half was O Holy Night, which along with James Gower’s rich bass tones moved us close to heaven. An energetic Merrily the Angels followed by a beautifully modulated O Come All Ye Faithful  from everyone brought the first half to a resounding close.

Post-interval, HCS’ energetic Ring Out Wild Bells led into an interactive version of Nova, Nova, an entertaining pantomimic singalong. St Joseph’s choir then returned with a pure-voiced and charmingly-delivered Rocking and Mid-Winter.

James sang three 20th century seasonal songs with great emotional depth and vocal range, including White Christmas as you have never heard it before. The audience paid due tribute with a lusty Good King Wenceslas, but showed sufficient discipline to make way for St Joseph’s delightfully sung Page.

Reluctant to abandon pantomime, Derek Harrison and Roger Mullis delighted the audience with a seemingly impromptu Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti. HCS came back with a supremely balanced delivery of Bortniansky’s quasi-operatic Glory to God in the Highest.

Christmas Celebration ended with a rousing Hark the Herald from all present and HCS’ songful wish for A Merry Christmas.

A few individual credits: Christopher Muhley for his excellent accompaniments, Roger Mullis for his inimitable interstitials and of course James Gower for those stunning vocals. Last but not least, Derek Harrison created a superbly entertaining programme, showing again that this annual concert is the best starter to the festive season.

A final word of congratulation is for the choir itself which proved that the stronger balance between parts achieved in November’s Petite Messe Solennelle was no one-off but is now taking it from strength to strength.

To add a last mot mindful of Roger Mullis, the HCS is currently truly ‘on song’!

Keith Wilkinson

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Come and sing with HCS from September

We will start rehearsing on Tuesday 3rd September, and then every Tuesday at Sele School, Hertford, SG14 2DG for the first concert of our 2019-20 season. It is on Saturday 2nd November 2019 when we will be performing Schubert's Mass in A Flat together with Chilcott's Dances of Time.

New members are very welcome to join, whatever your level of experience. You have the opportunity to join Taster Rehearsals free and, if you decide you would like to sing with us, you can do so for a term for a Taster Fee of £20, including music. HCS is a non-auditioned choir, you can find out more about a typical rehearsal here. If you are interested in coming along and singing with HCS, please contact our Membership Secretary, Trish Goldsmith, on 01992 589730 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Don’t hesitate to ask any question at all.

We look forward to welcoming you to HCS! Click here for more news from Hertford Choral Society.

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