Conductor James Morgan will be joined by mezzo soprano Juliette Pochin and baritone Alex Otterburn for a joyful celebration of Christmas – an afternoon of favourite carols, rousing fanfares and Yuletide songs. It takes place on Sunday, December 12 at 4pm at Brighton Dome (https://brightondome.org)
“We started back together again in the summer,” James said, “and then we got back to normality a bit more in September when we moved into our regular rehearsal venue.
“We have lost a few people and we have gained a few people and there are still people who are understandably very cautious about going into a large public space.
“But really I was surprised how many people we had come along. I think boredom had set in!
“There was a great sense of relief.
“And the first time we came back together was also quite emotional. So many people have been so used to singing together as a group so frequently for some of them for four decades or more, and it was something that they had really missed.
“I think it is fair to say that we were a little bit rusty but we have had a few good rehearsals since and we are definitely back on track. I think it is because singing is a physical thing and people had perhaps gone in on themselves.
“Because we had all been in lockdown people had become a bit more tentative and a little bit less confident whereas singing is all about projecting yourself and being confident.
“Also I think the lockdown had a massive effect on people’s mental health. It has been a huge thing.”
But the Christmas concert will certainly be a huge step back in the right direction.
“Last year we got into the Dome and we were socially distanced and we were dotted around the place and some of the Royal Philharmonic came down and it was good. We were very aware that for many people this concert is the start of their Christmas and we didn’t want to let them down. It was great. It was quite moving. It was the first time that the choir had sung together without masks for a long time at that point and we got some good views of the concert from all around the world.”
It has become very much a Brighton tradition
“The choir didn’t use to sing a traditional Christmas concert as a matter of habit but I just thought that it was really important in terms of involving the community in what we do and just to have a good time at Christmas. It is an amazing concert.” Everybody gets the chance to join in and just to be singing along with the Royal Philharmonic and a choir of 150 people is really quite something. The programme is mostly fun. We try to have one or two beautiful emotional pieces but really it’s a celebration of Christmas and coming together and just having a good time – something which is have been in short supply this year!”