Reflections on "Christmas" week

For choir, the end of another Michaelmas term came crashing towards us with services, concerts and assorted carolling opportunities seeming to snowball all at once. With term finishing so soon in early December, we found ourselves having to roll the Advent and Christmas seasons into the same week. The festivities kicked off on Sunday 27th November, when the Mixed and Boys’ choirs sang in the most popular service of the year; the Advent Carol Service. Chapel was completely full of friends and family, some of whom queued for what must have seemed like hours in the wintry evening air in to get a good seat. They were rewarded (we hope) with a varied selection of Advent pieces and readings, as well as warming seasonal refreshments afterwards. A highlight for the Mixed Choir was giving the premiere performance of American composer Stewart Duncan’s setting of the carol, There Is No Rose, the winning entry of this year’s Carol Composition Competition.

Fortunately, the piece got a second outing a few days later at our Christmas Concert of Carols and Readings. This time we joined forces with the Staff Choir, combining for one carol as well as for the congregational hymns, sang with gusto by those in another packed out Chapel. This, the penultimate duty of term for the Mixed Choir, was followed by our Christmas dinner in Hall, where, in keeping with tradition, we entertained the paper hat-clad masses with a few light hearted carols in between courses. The festivities continued into the evening with our end of term choir party, courtesy of the senior organ scholar and his large room, which kept us in good spirits till our final engagement of term: a Community Carol Service for members, alumni and friends of the College on Saturday 3rd December.

If you were unfortunate enough to miss all of these festive events, or even if you attended them all but still haven’t had your fill of sound of Worcester College Chapel Choir, fear not! In late November we were excited to announce the release of the newest Boys’ Choir CD, “O Sing Joyfully”. Featuring a medley of music for the service of evensong, including pieces by Sumsion, Bairstow, Chilcott, Bach and Mendelssohn, these make a perfect Christmas present for fans of choral and organ music, or anyone with a link to College. With copies selling fast, order yours soon from the College Lodge (01865 278300) or by emailing the Director of Music at

Updates of our various antics will continue in the new term, but for now, from all of us in the choirs and Chapel of Worcester College, we wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy new year!

About the author