On this occasion the fairy on the musical Christmas tree was a return visit from Phillipa Thomas, the elegant, richly chocolate-voiced mezzo soprano with her regular accompanist Michael Neaum at the piano.
Traditionally at the Christmas concert the audience expects to sing a few favourite carols. With the soloist this year being a singer it was possible to sprinkle the audience participation items throughout the programme and this worked very well indeed.
And what a varied programme it was, ranging from the expected extracts from ‘Messiah’ and Bach’s ‘Christmas Oratorio’ to more modern and less well known items such as those by Peter Warlock and Michael Head.
There were also Negro spirituals and the almost inevitable ‘White Christmas‘.
The songs and carols from the audience alternated with piano solos vigorously played by Michael Neaum, including Mazurkas Nos. 43 and 45 by Chopin and three ‘Christmas Pieces’ by Mendelssohn.
The seasonal atmosphere continued strongly during the interval with wine and tasty mince pies for refreshments and the bumper Raffle ably organised by Gilian Harries.
With introductions by the Chairman Adrian Hattrell the whole package formed a fitting, festive end to the first half of the Society’s Season.