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A magically musical Christmas

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

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Christmas in the cathedral

During December you get an idea of how the cathedral is vital to the county. Many societies have their own carol services, some ticketed, some free with a collection.

On Wednesday, December 4, between 7pm and 9pm, the cathedral shop is open, there will be hot drinks and mince pies, children's activities and musical entertainment.

From Darkness To Light on Sunday, December 8, at 6pm is a magical Advent carol service with choir and organ. Admission will be free with a collection.

Two private services take place on Monday, December 9: the Cornwall Carers' Christmas service at 2pm and the Truro School carol service at 7.30pm.

The Radio Cornwall Christmas Concert takes place on Tuesday, December 10, at 7pm. Listen to BBC Radio Cornwall for ticket details.

On Tuesday, December 12, the Diocesan Mothers' Union Advent Carol Service will take place at 2pm and, at 6pm, the Polwhele House School carol service.

Open to everyone, Truro's BIG Christmas Sing will fill the cathedral on Friday, December 13, at 7.30pm. Guest choirs will accompany you; admission will be free with a collection for the work of Christian Aid.

On Saturday, December 14, at 7.30pm, Silent Night, in association with Cornwall Today magazine, will include favourite carols, readings and music by the cathedral choir. Get tickets (adults from £12, students from £6, under-16s free) from the box office or 01872 245001 or trurocathedral. ticketsource.co.uk

Heading towards the Festival(s) of Nine Lessons and Carols, at 7pm on Tuesday, December 17, there is a reconstruction of the 1880 service where it all began, devised by the then-bishop, Edward White Benson (free with retiring collection), and a short talk at 6pm.

The Cornwall Young Farmers' carol service (ticket only, from the Royal Cornwall showground) is on Friday, December 20, at 7.30pm, and Cornwall Community Choir will give an informal, free, lunchtime concert on Saturday, December 21, at 1pm.

Luke Bond and Rachel Mahon will give the Christmas Organ Recital on Sunday, December 22, at 6pm (£7 at the door). Luke is conducting Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the St Mary's Singers and their professional orchestra on Saturday, December 7, at 7.30pm. Soloists will be Louise Mott, David Webb and Andrew Mahon. This will be candle-lit. Tickets from the box office (details above).

Finally – well, almost – to the two big services, the Festivals of Nine Lessons and Carols on Monday and Tuesday, December 23 and 24, at 7pm (doors 6pm). No tickets: first come, first seated.

Really the last, and one of my favourites, is on Sunday, December 29, at 2pm, there will be a fun-filled carol service for pets and children: no pet too big, no child too small or, I hope, too old.

Small works, big names

Devising the programme for St Austell Choral Society's autumn concert, Paul Drayton unearthed some short but brilliant works that reveal the genius of great composers.

He chose Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Rheinberger.

Bach's Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring gave accompanist Simon Dunbavand the chance to reveal the organ at its best, an adornment for the simple phrases sung by the choir while in his My Heart Ever Faithful soprano Cheryl Rosevear showed us her clear and attractive voice.

Haydn laughs even through his sad music; his Missa Brevis is made up of short, dancing movements, enhanced brilliantly by Simon's links. His Te Deum showed the interplay between singers and organ.

Mozart was represented by the motet, Sancta Maria, pure and lovely as only Mozart can be, while Simon used the organ to good effect in Mendelssohn's Third Organ Sonata with its majestic processional first movement, the second being one of serene beauty.

Rheinberger, better known for his organ works, revealed his skill as a choral composer in his Evening Song.

In any concert, one work exceeds all others. For me, it was two simple examples: Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer and O For the Wings Of A Dove, when choir and soloist Cheryl Rosevear gelled into a magical performance.

St Austell Choral Society has not yet finished. You will find them in Mount Charles Methodist Church at 7.30pm on Friday, December 13, for a concert of Advent music and readings. The Spring Concert is in St John's Methodist Church on Saturday, May 10.

Cornwall Music Festival

The 104th Cornwall Music Festival takes place in Truro Methodist Church between Monday and Saturday, March 10 and 15, 2014.

It seems a long way ahead, but the closing date for entries is January 15. This Friday, December 6, is the deadline for the concerto class – clarinet this year – in which the entrant is expected to play the second and third movements (largetto and minuet, with the second trio) of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet K581.

Elimination heats will take place on Wednesday, March 12. A clarinet concerto workshop with the acclaimed Sarah Beaty will be held on the weekend of February 8 and 9, at Benallack, near Grampound.

Pick up a syllabus from any library: entry forms must be sent by post to Michael Edwards, Chymenestrouthy, The Cedars, Truro, TRI 2FD.

If you cannot get hold of a syllabus, contact Michael on 01872 270474 or michael. edwards49@btinternet.com

Truro Three Arts

For the last concert in the winter series put on by Truro Three Arts in Truro College we have a group who call themselves The Fibonacci Sequence, led by pianist Kathron Sturrock, and inspired a Times reporter, no less, to praise the "dazzlingly good chamber ensemble with an exuberantly expressive intimate style with gorgeously idiomatic playing". Their offering includes a Handel passacaglia for violin and cello, a Brahms clarinet trio, Schumann's Märchenbilder for viola and piano, Dohnányi's sextet in C and Cornish composer Graham Fitkin's Sinew for sextet, performed first by the ensemble in 2009. Tickets are £15 from 01872 262466 or www.hallforcornwall.co.uk

At 2pm on the day the ensemble will be hosting a free open rehearsal for adults at the colleges.

Celebrations down west

Over the years Mousehole has become famous for its Christmas lights. On Saturday, December 14, you can see them being switched on and hear Mousehole Male Voice Choir singing on the quay. If you come, you won't be alone, so leave plenty of time to park near the village.

On Friday, December 20, the Mousehole choir will be in Paul church for its annual Christmas concert.

In full voice

The ladies of the Imerys Singers have their annual Christmas concert in Carclaze Chapel, St Austell, at 7pm on December 7, in aid of Cornwall Hospice Care. If you like what you hear (I'm sure you will) why not join? They rehearse on a Monday from 7.30pm in Carclaze Sunday Schoolroom. If you are interested call secretary Margaret Jane on 01726 73833.

Cornwall Symphony Chorus

This new and exciting large group welcomes you to its Christmas Concert this Saturday, December 7, at Truro Methodist Church. Members will be in festive headgear and if the audience want to do the same nobody will stop them. Phillip Davey and Jack Callow will accompany, Alistair Taylor conducts and has, in fact, masterminded the whole evening. Nostalgia will top the bill: White Christmas, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, Sleigh Ride and O Holy Night.

Guests are the Fahrenheit Quartet, a female close- harmony group, gold medal finalists and all members of Derbyshire's Dale Diva.

All this for a mere £10 (children £5): tickets from Truro Tourist Information Bureau, JS Eyecare in Redruth or, failing that, 01209 842977.

Help needed

East Cornwall Bach Choir's concert A Christmas Prelude, takes place in St Petroc's Church, Bodmin, this Saturday, December 7, at 7.30pm. They were rather hoping you would help them by joining in some of the carols. In an exciting selection of choral music by 20th-century composers, for example Stanford, Chilcott, Carter, Tavener and Górecki, there will be plenty of great music.

They will be joined by Cornwall Boys' Choir, conducted by Angela Renshaw; Paul Ellis devised this concert and will conduct. Get tickets from Bodmin Tourist Office or at the door, at £13; students £8; under-12s free.

Mevagissey spirits

On Saturday, December 14, at 7pm in St Andrew's Church Mevagissey Ladies' Choir will be joined by its male counterpart and the school choir for a Christmas concert.

A Victorian Christmas

The Goonvrea Singers, under the baton of Joyce Robson, will present an evening of Christmas poems and carols from the Victorian era, with plenty of carols to join in, at 7.30pm on Sunday, December 15, in the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Portal and St Piran in Truro, beside the Trafalgar roundabout. The shoppers' car park is only a step away. Tickets £8 on the door.

Christmas in St Minver Church

On Saturday, December 21, Wadebridge Choral Society under Nicholas Danks will present its carol concert in St Minver Church at 7.30pm, when it will sing a Mozart mass, a Haydn Te Deum and a Christmas Rhapsody by Eric Thiman. Come in good voice; tickets £10 at the door.

Rame Peninsula sings

Rame Peninsula Male Choir has three Christmas concerts: in Looe Riverside with Keltique Ladies on Saturday, December 14; in Kingsand Community Hall on Wednesday, December 18; and in St James's Church on Friday, December 20, with Torpoint Ladies' Choir. Jonathan Delbridge will conduct.

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