Joys of Christmas

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Yrmouth Parish Church

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Under its new conductor, Antony Bussell, the Great Yarmouth Choral Society attracted a large audience to the impressive nave of the Parish Church and gave it a lot of pleasure by adding just enough of the spice of novelty to bring out the flavour in a programme that was naturally traditional.

A solo quartet, delicate but secure, contrasted with the richer tone of the whole choir, and use was made of the building's ample space to create a delightful sense of distance that brought out the different characters of blending voices.

Among the settings of the more familiar carols, Elizabeth Poston's version of The Boar's Head was strikingly ingenious. It posed a certain challenge, and the singers responded very positively.

The Shepherds' Farewell from Berlioz' Childhood of Christ came across particularly well. The touch of nostalgia was attractive amidst a good deal of jollity, and control in hushed passages made its special impact. The interplay of voices in a Bach excerpt was delightful too.

John Farmer was the organist, Kerry Cunnane the piano accompanist, and Michael Drake read two poems. The lines by Pam Ayers were received with murmurs of recognition and ripples of chuckles.

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The audience joined the shepherds in the fields and strode out with Good King Wenceslas, resolutely holding the melody while the choir soared in exultant descants.

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