Choral Society to hold Christmas concert

THURROCK Choral Society will be holding its Christmas Concert on Saturday 14th December 2013 at Grays Parish Church at 7pm, with a programme that represents a departure from the usual Nine Lessons and Carols. This year promises to be like the contents of a box of quality Christmas crackers – something for everyone!

The society will be reprising a very popular item from its past repertoire – the Mass in G by Franz Schubert. Schubert wrote this simple but charming setting of the Mass in 1815 for his local church in Liechtenthal, a suburb of Vienna. He was just 18 years old and this youthful work is a fine example of his musical skill. The society will be accompanied by the lovely organ at the parish church.

The prgramme also contains two unusal seasonal offerings. One of our greatest composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote a Fantasia for Christmas Carols in which he re-worked four traditional carols:‘The Truth Sent From Above’, Come All You Worthy Gentlemen’, ‘On Christmas Night’ and ‘There Is A Fountain’ in a setting for baritone soloist and choir. The work premiered at the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford Cathedral in 1912, but is just as beautiful a celebration of the Christmas story today as it was more than a hundred years ago.

The second seasonal item is a departure for the choir as they will perform Navidad Nuestra by the contemporary Argentinean composer Ariel Ramirez, who died only in 2010. This a wonderful celebration of the Nativity with all the rhythms and gusto of South America – and is sung not only in Spanish – but South American Spanish – which involved quite a bit of linguistic research by the society! This is not only a gloriously upbeat but also a poignant retelling of the story of Christ’s birth and is sung by a tenor soloist accompanied by choir, keyboard and a selection of South American percussion instruments – which promises to be great fun! It was famously recorded in the 1980s by the wonderful José Carreras, one of the original Three Tenors. Both this work and the Schubert Mass will have full translations of the texts in the concert programme.

Sandra Wilkes, the TCS Chair, says ‘We are very excited about this concert and very much hope that the audience will love hearing the story of Christmas sung in contrasting pieces. We are again fortunate to be conducted by our director, Crispin Lewis and accompanied by three soloists, as well as by organist Raymond Lewis and our resident pianist, Elspeth Wilkes – and also by lots of percussion instruments – which we know will raise the roof!’

There will also be an interval with seasonal refreshments and a Christmas raffle. Tickets for this concert cost £8 and £7 for concessions – under 16s free – and can be obtained from the TCS Concert Secretary on 01375 377640 (or on the door). Further information about the society (including details of how to join) are available on the website: www.thurrockchoralsociety.org.uk

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