Christmas Concert 2022
The 2022 Christmas Concert, Fanfare for Christmas, was held on Saturday, 10th December at 7.30pm, in St Mary’s Church in Wigton, conducted by our Music Director, Ian Wright.
The exciting programme of Christmas Music, accompanied by brass quintet and organ, included Christmas favourites such as:
Cecilia McDowell’s Christus Natus Est
Carl Rutti’s Three Carols
Jonathan Willcocks’ In excelsis
together with Ian Wright’s Ode for Christmas Day, a setting of words by Ewan Clark to a traditional Ukrainian melody.
Ian Wright: Conductor
David T. Shingler: Organ
Throstle Brass Quintet
Wigton Choral Society’s 2022 Christmas Concert took place in St Mary’s Church on Saturday 10th December. The choir was joined by the Throstle Brass Ensemble, percussionist Stephen Burke and organist David T. Shingler.
Ian Wright, the Society’s Music Director, had devised an interesting and varied programme to celebrate the season, featuring music for brass quintet and choir. Many of the choral items were recent interpretations of traditional carol and plainsong melodies by contemporary composers. The most extensive of these was Cecilia McDowall’s Cantata for Christmas, a sequence of five traditional carols for brass quintet, organ and percussion. This is an imaginative work capturing the spirit of such diverse texts as Gaudete and Infant Holy, Infant Lowly. Choir and instrumentalists responded well to Ian Wright’s direction and gave a convincing performance. Other carol arrangements included a lively In Excelsis by Jonathan Willcocks and a setting of The Wexford Carol which was sensitively sung by four members of the choir. Carl Rutti’s Three Carols was perhaps less successful with some imbalance between instruments and singers.
Just before the interval the audience was treated to the world premiere of a recently composed Ode for Christmas Day by Ian Wright, using words by Ewan Clark, an 18th century Wigton poet, brother of Wilfred Clark, Vicar of Wigton. The music is based on a traditional Ukrainian folk song. The choir sang this with obvious enjoyment and commitment and the audience applauded enthusiastically, expressing support for the Ukrainian people at this difficult time.
Another exciting highlight came after the interval with a 17th century setting for double choir of the medieval carol In Dulci Jubilo composed by Michael Praetorius. One half of the choir was positioned at the west end of the church accompanied by the brass players. The others remained at the east end accompanied by the organ. Ian Wright directed from a half way point. The interplay between the two groups was most effective. It was a thrilling performance and an idea worth repeating in future.
The brass quintet and percussionist provided a dramatic opening to the evening with Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man; later we heard music for brass by Charpentier and Praetorius. It was exciting to hear this music in the fine acoustics of St Mary’s Church. Throughout the programme the young Wigton organist David T. Shingler provided sensitive accompaniment, using the tonal resources of the organ very effectively.
As usual, two traditional carols were included for choir and audience.
This was an enjoyable concert which introduced the Wigton audience to new and interesting music. The singers had obviously worked hard to prepare the programme; congratulations to them and to Ian Wright.
~David Shingler, December 2022~
We are very grateful to Aspatria & District Community Charity Association for their generous grant towards the cost of staging this concert.
We were also pleased to welcome guests from the Wigton Food Pantry. During the interval there was the opportunity to talk with them about their work in the town to help distribute surplus food to those in need. A collection in support of their activities was taken at the end of the concert.