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Our December concerts signal the start of the Christmas season in Minchinhampton, and this year proved no exception with a full house on the Friday night and a well-filled church the next day. Everyone seemed filled with the festive spirit but, to blow away any lurking cobwebs, the exuberant Sir Christèmas kicked off a first half which mixed favourite seasonal songs like Winter Wonderland, with audience carols and, in our homage to traditional Christmas viewing, a spectacular medley of classic Bond film themes.
The Carol of the Six Christmas Bells, by local composer Christopher Boodle was a popular item in the second half, but the hit of the night proved to be the men's spirited rendition of Always look on the Bright Side of Life, complete with whistling, which on Friday earned an immediate encore! The penultimate Twelve Days after Christmas, featuring grisly fates for both the partridge and its pear tree, not to mention the turtle doves and swimming swans, proved another big hit, and the evening was rounded off by A Christmas Promise, in the final line of which we were able to wish our audiences "Merry Christmas, One and All".
Outside, thunder and lightening threatened at our Minchinhampton summer concert this year, but inside a well-filled Holy Trinity Church the focus was all on joyous music making, with plenty of new numbers to delight the audience, along with just a few old favourites to pique the memory. Amongst other numbers Abba's timeless Thank you for the Music, the 1920s classic Apple Blossom Time, Mozart's Allelujah, an a capella Country Gardens and a Lennon & McCartney medley all vied for attention in the first half.
Our rafter-shaking shout at the start of the second half's opening number, Buffalo Gals, provoked squeals of surprise and heralded a sequence of songs which demonstrated that variety remains at the heart of our programming, with the spiritual Do Lord, a Gershwin medley, the tragicomic Edwardian The Goslings, Queen's We are the Champions and Rodgers and Hammerstein's You'll never walk alone all featuring amongst the ten numbers. The ladies loved singing Sandy Denny's Who knows where the Time goes, which had been sponsored by a long-time supporter of ours.
To round out a great evening, our wonderful accompanist Barrie Cooper treated us all to a masterful performance of a Chopin Prelude in the first half, and after the interval we were all delighted to continue our tradition of giving money we'd raised to local good causes when our Musical Director Helen Sims presented cheques to Building Circles In Gloucestershire and the 1st Minchinhampton Scout Group.
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