Christmas Joy

Christmas Joy

Music to bring happiness in the festive season

Our annual Christmas Concert for 2023 took place on Sunday 10th December at Birmingham Town Hall.

This was another joint concert with Midlands Hospitals Choir, in support of Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity. 

Tickets sold quickly for this concert and we performed to a near full house.  This year we were also delighted to welcome the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Chapman Lal and Lady Mayoress, Mrs Vidya Wati to the concert.

The varied programme represented a mix of joyful and reflective seasonal music performed by the two choirs, pupils from Bournville Village Primary School Choir and Year 6 Handbell Group, soloists Joanna Cooke (Soprano) and Charis Tai (Piano).  We were accompanied again this year by Gemini Brass, organist Charles Matthews as well as Melissa Morris and Sara Wilander on piano.

Some of the highlights from a packed programme were:

The joint choirs performed no less than 14 pieces, ranging from Christmas classics such as Good King Wenceslas, Angels from the Realms of Glory, and White Christmas, to the light-hearted Variations on Jingle Bells and Christmas Medley.

Particular stand out moments were their powerful and moving renditions of O Holy Night, Benedictus (from Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man) and Dan Forrest's arrangement of In the Bleak Midwinter.

In the first half, the Bournville Village Primary School Choir sang beautifully, accompanying the joint choirs in singing Away in a Manger, and later singing three Christmas songs of their own .  The School’s Year 6 Handbell Group also gave a polished performance of three popular carols, all the more remarkable considering the group only started in September.

Joanna Cooke, Soprano, delighted the audience with three pieces, including the Doll Song, from the Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach, in which she sang the part of a wind up doll.  It was our Musical Director, James, who came to the rescue on two occasions during the song when she needed rewinding!

In the second half Charis Tai gave an accomplished performance of Chopin’s Nocturne Opus 49 No.1.  Charis, who is studying for her GCSEs, is the current holder of the Edgbaston High School Musician of the Year Award.

Charles Matthews and Gemini Brass also had the opportunity to showcase their talents, each playing two pieces.

And last, but not least, the audience joined in enthusiastically with three popular carols, O Come, All Ye Faithful, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Joy to the World.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity representative, Jay Spragg

addressed the audience in the second half, highlighting the charity's Lifting and Soothing Spirits project, a much-valued and important service provided by the Hospital’s Chaplaincy team to support patients, families and staff with their spiritual and/or religious wellbeing.

The joint choirs dedicated their next song, Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven, to the children, families and staff at the hospital.

We are delighted to report that the charity raised a fantastic £1,293.55.