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The audience awaits the choir in a festively decorated Beckenham Methodist Chruch
The South Lonmdon Singers in full voice under the baton of their director, Julian Collins
The South London Singers’ Carols for Charity Concert, given on Saturday 16 December in support of St. Christopher’s Hospice, proved a great success with our audience. As both pictures on this page show, the Methodist Church was candlelit and the suitably festive atmosphere was enhanced by the presence of an enormous Christmas tree. This must have put our supporters in a good mood and added to their appreciation of the concert format of choir carols, audience carols, readings and a piano duet.
The familiar Leroy Anderson “Sleigh Ride,” was given a welcome outing by our director and organist (Julian Collings and David Thorne) playing on the same piano and managing to stay “on the road” despite the whinnying of an escaped horse, emanating from the bass section.
The choir carols ranged from the 15th-century “Myn Lyking” in C.S. Terry's arrangement via the firm favourites of the 19th century like “Once in Royal David’s City” and “O Come, all ye Faithful” through to modern-day compositions by John Gardner and John Rutter. Ignoring the current political climate, the choir was not to be deterred from singing, in French, the beautiful “Quelle est cette odeur agréable” and an English version of a lovely carol by Adolfe Adam, known in France as “Minuit, chrétiens!” and recently voted as Britain’s most favourite carol “O, Holy Night”.
The choir’s favourite was surely “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, which Julian directed with great aplomb, while David Thorne kept us on our toes with a bravura organ accompaniment.
Several audience members commented afterwards about the excellent choice of music for a programme that came together well. The very good overall sound and the choir’s confident singing also won praise. One friend even remarked that the choir knew what they were doing and clearly seemed to be enjoying it. Our musical director and our accompanist were singled out for special mention as being “on very good form”.
Our treasurer, David Jackson, informs us that the bucket collection alone brought in over £600 for St. Christopher’s Hospice – a very good sum for a most worthy local charity.
Report by Alan Tod, Chair of South London Singers