On Sunday 10th December, the school gathered in St Mary’s Church for the annual Carol Service. Despite the snow affecting many areas of the South West, the church was full, and there was a notable air of anticipation as the lights dimmed at 5pm, leaving just the glow of candles, making way for the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City to be sung by a solo voice from the West end of the building. This year’s soloist was Ella (UV), who delivered with the utmost serenity.
The service was book-ended by Chamber Choir’s polished performances of movements from Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols; the LIV choir sang Edmund Walters’ Babe of Bethlehem, which cleverly weaves in the words and melody of Away in a manger to the last verse. The first performance of specially-commissioned All wonders by Mark David Boden was given by Junior Consort, augmented by the Chamber Choir, with a guest appearance by Miss Alice Cubbin as alto saxophonist. The composer was in attendance, and was evidently delighted by the commitment and skill of the girls in this exciting world première.
The String Sinfonia played Leontovich’s mesmerising Carol of the Bells, itself another example of a piece deftly written to incorporate a more familiar carol: this time, Silent Night was heard in the middle section, before a return to the original material. Mr Totney opened and closed the service with organ voluntaries by Bach, Rheinberger and Dubois, and boosted the singing of favourite carols. Congratulations to all who took part.
Mrs Rebecca Cavill, Director of Music