For the first time, all our choirs came together and performed two carol services. The first took place at St Nicolas in Newbury and the second was held at St Mary Abbots in Kensington. Audiences online and in the church were treated to the much-loved congregational carols, exhilarating brass fanfares, and descant lines, as well as a wonderful and varied selection of choral gems, masterminded by Dr Exon.
In Harmony sang, Love came down at Christmas, a sensitive setting of Christina Rossetti’s poem. Once Removed and Treblemakers gave an exuberant rendition of Ring out the bells, beautifully paced and very catchy. Then, Prima Voce performed a stunning modern arrangement of Away in a manger, and one of their favourites, A Christmas Blessing. We also heard two beautiful compositions by Downe House’s own Musician in Residence, the internationally acclaimed composer and conductor, Bob Chilcott. Prima Voce sang, The time draws near, composed especially for them. The massed choirs gave us, This is the Truth, a movement from On Christmas Night.
All the choirs joined forces to sing an extended Ave Maria setting, including an instrumental interlude over which the second reading was delivered. Hearing so many talented young singers performing together as one created a spellbinding and magical atmosphere for the congregation. Amidst all this wonderful choral music, we heard solos from Eleanor, Honor, Sophie, Alice P, Alice B, Isadora, Harriet, Heloise, Airlie, Audrey, Maria K, Serena, Antonia, and Maria T.
The joy of singing to celebrate both Christmas and our Downe House community was evident in every girl’s face, and the sound of their voices together in these services was a delight to behold.
Christian Alexander, Teacher of Music, Head of Composition
“The sheer musical and personal fulfilment from singing and playing with the best group of musicians was simply euphoric.” – Sara L (LVI)
“The carol services were an amazing way to end the term, singing with all the choirs and the congregation. It was especially enjoyable to sing a selection of songs written specially for us by Bob Chilcott.” – Isadora D (LV)
“It was a wonderful way to connect with family and the community through music and return to singing as a choir.” – Eleanor G (UVI) – Head of Choral
“Heaven touched earth this evening.” – Parent of Downe House Pupil
“The Carol Services were truly uplifting. Our choirs and readers from across the whole school celebrated the Christmas Story with poignancy, joy and triumph. I couldn’t be prouder of the girls and the way in which they captivated the congregation with their inimitable warmth and integrity of choral blend, bringing the Christmas story alive.” – Dr Exon, Director of Music
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