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

Latest News

Join us for our Christmas Concert - THIS Saturday 15th December!

Hertford Choral Society warmly invite you to join us for our Christmas Cheer Concert on Saturday 15th December, All Saints Church Hertford, 7.30pm. With us will be Morgans School choir, James Gower (Bass Soloist), Christopher Muhley (organ/ piano), along with compère Roger Mullis and Musical Director and Conductor Derek Harrison. Please click here for details of how to buy tickets.

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

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