Christmas with a Community Choir
There’s something very special about a community choir Christmas concert.
There’s always a wealth of material to use with carols old and new, loads of great Christmas pop songs, some classical gems that have a christmassy feel, and our normal repertoire.
On Saturday 2 December, I led the Milton Keynes Community Choir in their Christmas concert, and fantastic fun it was too.
We always have local guest musicians to fill out the programme and provide variety. Plus there’s the annual raffle with some big hampers as prizes and the prospect of raising a decent amount for a local charity.
There is a lot of competition for venues in Milton Keynes. The venue is a decent theatre with very raked seating so the audience get a good view. The acoustic, though, is very dry and not very rewarding to sing in – we have to go for it and trust that the hard work in rehearsals and at home will pay off!
Milton Keynes Community Choir are in their ninth year, and we have had some really great times together. Concerts are a celebration of community and family, and are always a good mixture of serious and fun, a cappella and accompanied pieces with our fabulous pianist Ian Riley. He is a brilliant jazz player so its nice to be able to book bass and drums so we can authentically sing suitable stuff in that style.
This year one of the highlights was God Rest You Merry Gentlemen mashed up with Brubeck’s Take 5. We also delved deeper into classical territory than we normally do with Va Pensiero from Verdi’s Nabucco (been working on that all year!) and Bach’s Jesu Joy.
Our guest slot was filled with local a capella group Jinx who do a wonderful Only You. We learned their version of Carol of the Bells, and they in turn joined us for our finale All I Want For Christmas Is You. Fairytale of New York also got an outing, rude words and all sung with gusto!
Here at ChoirCommunity we have loads of Christmas arrangements already lined up for next year which we aim to make available in the summer, in time for you to plan your christmas music! If you signed up for email alerts you will be notified as soon as anything gets added to the list of music, and we will be featuring new arrangers in 2018.
What Christmas songs would you like to perform next year, at your own Christmas concert? We’d love to know. Post a comment below and share your ideas.
Photograph of Craig McLeish & the Milton Keynes Community Choir by Karen Kodish