Magic of Christmas 2016 Review

The Magic of Christmas

St John Singers, St Thomas’s Church, Salisbury, 21st December


It was the day of the Winter Solstice: the shortest day of the year and the audience felt the need for a bit of magic. The St John Singers have a proud reputation of supporting charities at Christmas, and, supplemented by the St John Brass, gave a festive concert to support the Stroke Association. The concert began with two lovely canzonas from the brass octet by Gabrieli and Guami which evoked the majesty of the early seventeenth century at St Mark’s Square in Venice. The first half was completed by a stirring rendition of the Rutter Gloria, which featured the choir, brass and organ in three movements.

After the interval, fortified by wine and mince pies, the choir began at the West End of the church with an unaccompanied performance of Away in a Manger, beautifully sung. The second half comprised a mixture of popular and less well-known carols, including one written by the conductor, Ian Wicks as, well as opportunities for the audience to contribute lustily in song.

Beneath the twinkling lights of the enormous Christmas tree at St Thomas’s Church, this was the perfect way to beat the winter blues. Lovely music, well performed by the choir and brass ensemble and clearly led by Ian Wicks. The audience all left in a better mood, in the knowledge that Christmas was fast coming and that, from tomorrow, the days would get-longer!

Hadyn Ingram