Singers join in cathedral concerts for Barnardo’s

Amici Singers at Southwark ifPO4kmjunhn9bjDgpEA
Amici Singers at Southwark ifPO4kmjunhn9bjDgpEA

A women’s choir from Biggleswade took part in an annual extravaganza of singing in London.

The Amici Singers joined a host of people of all ages for the Barnardo’s Christmas Concerts at Southwark Cathedral on Friday, December 1.

The Amici have sung previously in St Paul’s Cathedral and twice at Westminster Cathedral and this year there were two concerts, a matinee at 2.30pm and an evening performance at 7.30pm, with the singers participating in both.

During the matinee, the Amici performed two classics - ‘Do you Hear what I hear?’ and ‘Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, and in the evening ‘Ave Maria’ by Giulio Caccini and ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’.

Bedfordshire choirs included Henlow Academy and the Gamlingay Village School Choir, who sang ‘Born on Earth is the Child Divine’ and ‘The Christmas Children’. This was under the direction of Douglas Coombes who is also the musical director of the Amici Singers, who are approaching their 40th anniversary in January.

According to the singers, the calibre, enthusiasm and standard of the participating school choirs was outstanding.

Of special note were the Grange Primary School Drummers from Essex, the Godolphin Vocal Ensemble from Wiltshire, and the Tonbridge Grammar School Motet and Cantores Choirs.

Members of the choir also helped with programme selling, ushering and manned the Barnardo’s bear stall.

The bears, donated by Build a Bear, selling at the bargain price of £10 for one or £15 for two, were a real hit with audience and Amici alike, with several hitching a ride on the bus home.

Jen Privett, who has been organising the concerts for 25 years, wrote afterwards to the choir: “Thank you so much for your brilliant performance. It was wonderful.”

As with many choirs, this time of the year is a busy time and so it is with the Amici Singers. On December 9, they gave a concert at St Swithun’s Church, Sandy, raising money for charities under the auspices of Sandy Rotary. The choir were joined by the St Swithun’s Church of England VC Primary School Choir.

The main work involving both choirs is “Trig Trog and the Christmas Children”. This work, with music written and arranged by the singer’s conductor, Douglas Coombes, was originally written and broadcast in 1983 for the BBC education music series, ‘Time and Tune’.

The story was written by John Emlyn Edwards who, at one time, was the headmaster of Langford Primary School. The story, which has been expanded for this performance, tells of orphaned children who are looked after by Trig Trog, an Armenian storyteller and singer and, after many adventures, join up with the wise men on their journey to Bethlehem. The story is particularly relevant today as there are many young refugees and orphans in many countries in Europe.