Your guide to 30 carol concerts in Norfolk to get you in the Christmas spirit


- Credit: Archant

There is nothing more likely to lift the Christmas spirits than carol concert or the jingle of festive songs. SIMON PARKIN offers a guide to some of the places to enjoy seasonal sounds.


Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, December 5-6, 7.30pm, £15, 01603 620917,

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, December 16, 7.30pm, £19.50, £10 under-25s, £49 family, 01284 758000,

The Locrian Ensemble's annual Christmas show is the hottest ticket in their calendar. In lavish period costume, and in front of an evocative candlelit setting, they perform favourites including carols, string medleys of familiar Christmas tunes, and seasonal surprises. They will be joined by the evergreen Jill Washington, West End star soprano of Phantom of the Opera, who sings works including Rejoice from Handel's Messiah, White Christmas and the 12 Days of Christmas. The evening is introduced by their cellist and musical director, Justin Pearson. The Bury date will also see them joined by choirs from Bury Schools Partnership.


Copeman Centre, Briston, December 5, 7.30pm, £6, under-16s free, 01263 860844,

Organist and entertainer Mick Leary will be at the Hammond organ with music for all ages, ably assisted by some of his music students, at this special festive concert. Briston's own super singing sensation The Brotherly Sisters will be playing and there will be all the tongue-in-cheek latest local news from Bonnie Raka and Conn E. Rawbit.

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St Catherine's Church, Ludham, December 5, 7.30pm, £5, 01692 678682

A festive concert by the Norwich Young People's Theatre 'Voices' Choir made up of young people of 13-25 and singing gospel Christmas music and Christmas favourites given a new slant, with unison, solo and eight-part harmony singing.


The Roman Catholic Church, March, December 5, 7.30pm/St Wendreda's Church, March, December 20, 7pm,

Fenland brass band March Brass 2000 are playing festive music and carols at several locations during December notably at these two dates in March. They will also be at The Horsefair, Wisbech on December 6 (10.30am) and at Emneth Church on December 21 (4pm).


Parish Church, Oak Street, Fakenham, December 6, 3pm, free admission,

North Norfolk Concert Band and Coastal Singers present this seasonal concert at Fakenham parish church with a varied programme that will include a family seasonal singalong.


Diss Corn Hall, December 6, 7.30pm, £15, £6 under-12s, 01379 652241,

The Burgate Singers, one of Suffolk's leading amateur choirs, present two Christmas works alongside the ever-popular Fauré Requiem. The choir will be accompanied by a professional orchestra. The programme will include Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Ralph Vaughn Williams, Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, Cantate de Noël by Arthur Honegger.


St Edmundsbury Cathedral, December 6, 7pm, £20-£10, 01284 769505,

St Edmundsbury Cathedral's annual performance of Handel's Messiah. The Cathedral Choir is joined by the St Edmundsbury Singers and the Suffolk Handel Players. Handel's Messiah with well-known favourites such as the Hallelujah Chorus, 'For Unto Us A Child Is Born' and 'I Know That My Redeemer Liveth'.


Barton Turf Church, December 6, 7.30pm, £8, £4 children on door, 01603 760669

Barton Turf Choral Society evening of Christmas music including Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Vaughan Williams, and carols for all to sing. Soloists include Ben Schilperoort, cellist Kristina Bartlette and organist David Dunnett.


Central Baptist Church, Duke Street, Norwich, December 6, 7.30pm, £8 adv/£9.50 door, under-16s free,

Concert with audience carols featuring Framingham Earl Singers and instrumental soloists from Framingham Earl High School.


Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, December 7, 7.30pm, £26.50 (£24.50 cons), 01502 533200,

A festive evening of the best of music from Vienna played by the full British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Soloists include soprano Marilyn Hill Smith, tenor Andrew Forbes Lane and Jeremy Peaker from Opera North. The evening is presented by Malcolm McKee.


Diss Corn Hall, December 7, 7.30pm, £13.50, 01379 652241,

The Forum, Norwich, December 21, 7.30pm, £12.50, 01603 630000,

Jonathan Wyatt Big Band return with their ever popular festive show packed with classic jazz and swing numbers and lots of Christmas favourites including Sleigh Ride, Let it Snow! and White Christmas as well as numbers made famous by Michael Bublé, Bing Crosby and Harry Connick Jnr, sung by some of East Anglia's top big band vocalists. The band will also be performing at Big Bubbas Christmas Boogie Blowout at St George's Theatre, Great Yarmouth (Dec 13, 7.30pm, £16 01493 331484), a night of foot tapping swing music with festive surprises.


St Nicholas' Church, Dersingham, December 7, 7.30pm, £7.50 adv/£8.50 on door, 01485 544866

Musicians from Bilton Brass Band, currently Midland Area champions, will swell the ranks of Norfolk Brass for this special concert in St Nicholas' Church, decorated with Christmas trees. A varied programme of light classical, operatic and film music as well as some traditional Christmas tunes.


The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, December 8, 8pm, £20, 01284 758000,

Following the hugely popular 25th anniversary Christmas tour, renowned folk singer Maddy Prior joins up once again with the Carnival Band for their unique celebratory show Carols & Capers. They mix renaissance, modern and ethnic instruments with plenty of humour putting their inimitable stamp on familiar and not-so-familiar festive fare.


Norwich Playhouse, December 8-9, 7.30pm, £17, 01603 598598,

Swing into Christmas with the greatest hits of Michael Bublé. Vocalist Joe Ringer and his 17-piece orchestra return to the Norwich Playhouse with the crooning superstar's most popular festive numbers from the multi-million selling album Michael Buble Christmas. He will also be joined by The Jingle Belles, an all-singing, all-dancing three-part harmony group, plus special guests.


St Andrew's Hall, Norwich, December 9, 7.30pm, £8.95, 01603 628311,

Popular traditional concert held by the Eastern Daily Press. The Festival Choir, Broadland Youth Choir and Cawston Band will be performing on the night hosted by Chris Bailey and include an array of carols, Christmas music, songs and readings. Everything from Away In A Manger to local composer Patrick Hawes's The Colours Of Christmas will feature. It will again be raising funds for EDP We Care Appeal: Norfolk Millennium Trust for Carers.


St George's Theatre, Great Yarmouth, December 9-11, 7.30pm, £10 (£8 cons), 01493 331484,

After their sell out show last year, Great Yarmouth, the Chorus of St Cecilia return to perform their Christmas concert for a three-night run. There will be popular and favourite Christmas music of John Rutter, Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bell Rock, O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, The Snowman, White Christmas and more, with audience participation. The choir and junior choir will be joined by guest soloists Sam Street, Charlotte Bullen and Suzanne Long.


St John the Baptist RC Cathedral, Norwich, December 10, 7.30pm, £8 (£5 cons), 01603 508050,

UEA Choir, under the direction of Tom Primrose, host their traditional Christmas carol concert at St John the Baptist in Norwich. The 140-strong choir will perform a feast of festive favourites, such as Ding Dong! Merrily on High and Twelve Days of Christmas, in the atmospheric setting, with opportunities for the audience to join in well-loved carols.


The Cut, Halesworth, December 11, 7.30pm, £12, 0845 6732123,

Concert guitarist Richard Durrant brings his annual, candlelit Christmas concert, this year with even more sparkle as it includes music from his album, Christmas Guitars, featuring vocalist Amy Kakoura. Highlights will include early English carols, European Christmas songs and Durrant's guitar suite, The Polar Bear, with recorded narration by Barry Cryer.


Cromer Parish Hall, December 11, 7.30pm, £5, £2.50 under-18s, 01263 511600

The Cromer Orchestra perform a programme that will include Christmas favourites, traditional carols and a special guest appearance by Southrepps based Cantamus Choir, singing music by John Rutter and John Taverner. This will be the first time that the orchestra and choir have performed together. Tickets on the door, or in advance from Cromer Tourist Information Centre or Kirkhams Hardware store.


Norwich Cathedral, December 12, 7.30pm, £18-£12, 01603 218300,

A feast of Christmas music both sacred and secular with Norwich Cathedral Choir in a festive celebration with carols for choir and audience. Tickets include glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.


Aldeburgh Parish Church, December 12, 7pm/St Margaret's Church, Lowestoft, December 13, 3pm, both £13-£10, 01728 687110,

Aldeburgh Music's chamber choir Aldeburgh Voices present a varied programme including John Tavener's The Lamb, Hector Berlioz Shepherds' Farewell from L'Enfance du Christ, Ben Parry's Two Medieval Carols, Jonathan Rutherford's Rejoice, Rejoice! and Richard Allain In The Bleak Midwinter. PLus the children's choir formed from cast and chorus of the Britten centenary performances of Noye's Fludde.


St Lawrence's Arts Centre, South Walsham, Dec 13, 7pm/St Matthew's Church, Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich, Dec 14, 3pm, both £10, £5 under-16s, 01692 538916,

Showcasing a rich mix of the unfamiliar and the usual suspects, the Jay Singers give the traditional Christmas themes an invigorating twist. Their seasonal programme will span music from the 16th century to the present day – from William Byrd to Richard Rodney Bennett, Tchaikovsky to John Tavener – with additional contributions by Britten, Holst and Whitacre. Well-known carols in arrangements by Kodaly, Poston, Rutter and Willcocks, and Poulenc's Four Christmas Motets adds French flavour. Poetry extracts from Wendy Cope, Carol Ann Duffy and U A Fanthorpe will also feature.


St George's Church, Colegate, Norwich, December 13, 7.30pm, £8, 01362 820532,

The Anglian Singers, first formed as a madrigal group in the late 1940s by Alice Peters and now a mixed voice choir of about 30 members specialising in both 'a cappella' and accompanied singing, present their traditional carol concert with audience participation.


King's Lynn Minster, December 13, 5pm, £15 (£10 cons), £5 children, 01553 764864,

Once again the King's Lynn Festival Chorus perform an uplifting festive evening in the Minster, the highlight of which will be some moving and joyous pieces from Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The Oratorio tells the Christmas story and contains many instantly recognisable chorals and choruses. For this performance Bach will be followed by a new piece written for the Chorus by local composer Lewis Wolstanholme. There will also be well-known carols and plenty of opportunities to join in the singing.


St Peter's Church, Sheringham, December 13, 7.30pm, free admission,

Christmas concert by Cromer & Sheringham Brass Band that will include popular Christmas music and audience participation with carols. Free admission but a retiring collection to be shared between the band and the church.


St Andrews Hall, Norwich, December 14, 3pm, £15-£8,

Norwich Pops Orchestra perform a wonderful selection of music from the stage and screen including Home Alone, The Nutcracker, White Christmas, Mary Poppins and more, in a festive concert also featuring the Norfolk Youth Music Theatre.


Queens Hall, Norwich Road, Watton, December 14, 2pm, £10, £6 children, 01953 881234,

Charity Christmas concert with the Taverham Band & The Poringland Singers playing and singing favourite seasonal songs and carols in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance.


St Andrews Hall, Norwich, December 16, 7.30pm, £14-£10, £7 students, 01603 628319,

Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and the 100-strong chorus, conducted by David Dunnett and Matthew Andrews, celebrate the festive season with a sparkling selection of old favourites, new arrangements, sing-along carols and a few surprises. This concert, which includes carols for choir and audience, is always a sell-out, so book quick.


St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, December 20, 6pm, £6 (£4 cons), 01603 626414,

Viva Voce Singers, Norwich-based chamber choir of around 25 singers and former winners of the Radio Norfolk Choir of the Year, hold their traditional Christmas concert in the spendid St Peter Mancroft, this year in aid of MAP, the young people's advice and counselling charity.


Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, December 7, 7.30pm, £17, 01603 620917,

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, December 23, 8pm, £18 (cons available), 01284 758000,

The Albion Christmas Show is now into its 16th year and has attracted sell-out audiences across the UK. It was such a good night last year at the Maddermarket and The Apex that both venues had to invite them back this year. Featuring the combined talents of Simon Nicol (Fairport Convention), Kellie While (Albion Band) Simon Care (Edward II) and the Guvnor himself, Ashley Hutchings, this show takes you on a guided tour through the Christmas customs

of Britain: an evening of traditional English Christmas music, dancing and celebration.

The show is a seasonal mixture of carols, spoken word, humorous readings and dance. This year will see a collection of new material (brand new Live at Kings Place album) alongside favourites from their back catalogue of Christmas albums.

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