Happy New Year! It was a busy time for Out There Music Bristol this Christmas with all three of our groups performing at their own Christmas concerts which were all in aid of Changing Tunes, the amazing charity we’ve been proudly supporting for the last 6 years.
It all started on Thursday 6th December after the OTM North Bristol Choir had its final rehearsal of 2018 and we celebrated by heading straight up to the Cambridge Arms in Westbury Park for a Christmas sing-along. I took my keyboard up and the choir (and some enthusiastic patrons!) belted out some Christmas classics as well as a few of the choir’s own back-catalogue favourites. It was a great night and an excellent way to kick off a week of musical Christmas festivities for Out There Music Bristol.
Two days later on Saturday 8th December the North Bristol Choir were at the Elmgrove Centre in Redland for the OTM North Bristol Christmas Show, the first of three Christmas Concerts for OTMB. The wonderful vocal trio of the ‘Velvetones‘ opened the show and dazzled the audience with a fantastic and eclectic set of close harmony singing before the North Bristol Community Choir took to the stage to perform music including ‘Into My Arms’ by Nick Cave, Elton John’s classic ‘Tiny Dancer, a mash up of ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘Every Breath You Take’ as well as some Christmas favourites. Accompanied by our band of Gareth from Changing Tunes on bass as well as our excellent new drummer, Zach Findlay, the choir sounded fantastic and all our hard work from the term really came to fruition.
Once again The Elmgrove Centre served as the perfect venue for the occasion and was set up cabaret style with the audience seated at candlelit tables with drinks and snacks. A brilliant evening all round.
The second performance was the Out There Music Bristol Chamber Choir Christmas Concert Christmas and took place the next day on Sunday 9th December at St. Monica’s just off The Downs. It was wonderful to be back in the magnificent St. Augustine’s Chapel after a year and a half since our last performance there. Set amongst the spectacular surroundings of St. Monica’s and with a very festive feel, it is always a privilege to perform in the chapel. Such a beautiful venue with wonderful acoustics and some of the music in this year’s programme worked particularly well in the chapel including Tavener’s spellbinding ‘Song for Athene’ which the Chamber Choir delivered majestically.
The rest of the concert included music by Eric Whitacre, Imogen Heap and Annie Lennox as well as some beautiful Christmas music. During Ola Gjeilo’s ‘Ubi Caritas’ the audience were treated to some fantastic piano playing from our accompanist Alison Howell.
We also had the pleasure of hearing from the evening’s soloist – cellist Hannah Wilkie – a pupil at Clifton College. Her sonorous sound was a joy to listen to, playing Fauré in her first set and Debussy and Boccherini in the 2nd. She left the audience both thoroughly entertained and captivated with her immensely musical playing.
The Chamber Choir really mesmerised the audience in what was a very special evening and then followed some mulled wine and mince pies to round off a wonderful occasion.
The third of the three Christmas Shows and the grand finale of the OTM Bristol season came just a few of days later on Wednesday 12th December when the South Bristol Choir took to the stage at the always awesome Southbank Club in Bedminster for the Out There Music South Bristol Christmas Show.
Once again the Velvetones opened superbly. Then the South Bristol Choir performed music including ‘Softly’ by Will Todd, The Jackson Five’s classic ‘I’ll Be There’ and a mash up of ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘Every Breath You Take’. The choir sang and performed brilliantly, raising their game at precisely the right time!
After a short intermission and more liquid refreshments, performers and audience alike came together for what is now our (almost!) annual mass Christmas sing-along including many all time classic Christmas tunes including ‘Fairytale of New York’, the Slade classic ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, a personal favourite of mine, East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’ and ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham. A very fun time was had by all and it was an amazing way to round off what was a very busy but also very fun week of quality musical entertainment from all the OTM Bristol groups.
Thanks to all who were involved in the organising of the performances, you know who you are and I know that I have thanked you all personally already! Thanks and a big well done to all three choirs and everybody who helped set and clear up. A special mention goes to the band; Gareth on guitar, Zach on drums and also Alison on piano at St. Monica’s, great playing and it wouldn’t have been the same without any of them!
I’m delighted to say that across the three concerts and including Gift Aid we raised £672 for Changing Tunes so thank you very much to everyone who donated.
Happy New Year to one and all and see you soon!
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