EVERY year Christmas starts for many people with the annual Family Carol Concert presented by Oldham Choral Society at Oldham Parish Church.
And this year’s much-loved evening was another success, seeing Ashton Band take their place alongside the choir to offer a wonderful Christmas stocking of goodies.
Christmas Carols For All boasted the posters and that was exactly what was delivered. From Arthur Sullivan to John Rutter, via Michael Head and Irving Berlin, with shades of Leroy Anderson and Bing Crosby, this warm-hearted Christmas offering delighted the packed audience.
That the BBC is broadcasting its Christmas Day service from Oldham Parish Church just shows how popular this venue is.
Oldham Choral Society has been offering their unique blend of traditional and modern carols and music at this venue for many years and this concert on December 21 was one of their best.
Ashton Band, under conductor Philip Chalk, galloped through compilations of Christmas music with verve and precision and with a euphonium solo by Matthew Hill in the variations on Rule Britannia, Brillante.
The Choral Society was superbly accompanied by Angela Lloyd Mostyn, and the whole choir was under the musical direction of Nigel P. Wilkinson, who also arranged a couple of the pieces.
The traditional carols are evocative of childhood days, before mobile phones, 24-hour television and computer games, when families gathered together round the piano or banded in groups bringing cheer to the streets.
The audience came into their own during Schneewalzer played by the band as they swayed first left, then right, then nodding and standing, a laAndre Rieu, proving we are all children at heart.
Three items from Handel’s Messiah were greatly appreciated and when the Hallelujah Chorus brought the concert to a close we knew we were ready for Christmas.
After the concert mince pies, coffee or wine and conversation ended a wonderful evening.
The Oldham Choral Society rehearses every Monday at Chadderton Town Hall and anyone who wishes to join them should come along.
The Society’s next performance will be Verdi’s Requiem in April at the Royal Northern College of Music. Book the date in your diary.