Singing out for Christmas

The STRATHMORE Singers will give two Christmas concerts this year.

The first concert will be held in Kirriemuir Old Parish Church on Wednesday, December 19, at 7.30 p.m. and the second, which will be similar in format to a Nine Lessons and Carols Service, will take place in St John’s Episcopal Church, Forfar, on Thursday, December 20.

Both programmes will include not only seasonal music but also readings, delivered by Heather Gourlay and Roger Clegg.

Christmas music from across various countries and centuries will be performed.

The very well known In Dulci Jubilo will be sung in eight parts, which is no mean feat for 11 voices. This is the setting by Robert Pearsall that heralds the start of every Christmas when it is broadcast from Kings College, Cambridge on Christmas Eve.

Another popular carol is The Three Kings, written by Peter Cornelius, which weaves a bass solo around a well-known Christmas hymn.

More recent music includes Sing Lullaby by Herbert Howells and I Wonder as I Wander, which is a new piece to the choir. This is a lively and stirring setting of J.J. Niles’ words to music by Carl Rutti.

A piece written by a female Scottish composer is In the Stillness by Sally Beamish who lives near Loch Lomond. This music captures the feeling of peace at Christmas in a beautiful composition using words by Katrina Shepherd and it is a song universally loved by the choir.

Early music, which is a hallmark of the Strathmore Singers concerts, is represented by Canite Tuba, one of Palestrina’s finest five part motets, which was written in 1572.

The choir will also perform the three-part setting of the 15th century pageant piece the Coventry Carol.

Romantics among the audience will pleased by the inclusion of the Shepherd’s Cradle Song and music by Vaughn Williams and Benjamin Britten will not fail to please.

Another tradition of the Strathmore Singers concerts is mandatory audience participation and so some well-known hymns and carols will be included for everyone to join in.

Further pleasure is to be had when mince pies and mulled wine are served after the singing to send everyone home full-up and merry!

While there will be no entry charge for these concerts there will, as usual, be a retiring collection.