It’s that time of year again

In the choral calendar, you always know that Christmas is looming when you crack open that perennial workhorse of the songster’s year,  Carols for Choirs. For the Chamber Choir, Christmas began earlier this week, when we wheeled out the copies in order to start rehearsing for the University Carol Service in December.

Hark the Herald Angels sing…

The Carol Service, which takes place in Canterbury Cathedral, occupies a very special place in the choral calendar; the occasion, the venue, the sense of community – plus the usual concerns as to how the ladies in the choir will process up the stairs in long skirts without tripping, how to hold candles and folders of music, and how not to set fire to the hair of the person standing in front of you. With such hallowed issues are carol services concerned – the singing almost comes second…

As usual, we’ll be preparing three carols to sing during the service, plus harmonised verses to ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and others. There’s usually the challenge (for Kent is the UK’s European University, is it not) of singing one of the carols in a variety of excitingly bewildering languages as well.

And, of course, we’re still in full flight towards the Gala concerts to open the new music building in the two days before the service. We’re starting to leave the piano behind more and more in rehearsal, although this has occasionally resulted in our leaving our intonation behind as well… then again, that’s what rehearsals are all about!

Meanwhile, the Cecilian Choir is branching out from the Britten ‘Ceremony of Carols’ by looking at pieces by Mendelssohn and Debussy – well, we have native German and French speakers in the choir, so it makes sense to use their advice on pronunciation!

Choral life continues…

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