Hastings’ HPO Singers join the Christmas festivities

Conductor Marcio da Silva explains: “In 2020, many of us were forced to cancel a number of events. Although with HPO we were lucky and managed to perform all our end-of-year events, other groups weren’t as fortunate.

Marcio da Silva
Marcio da Silva

“Many of us had to spend Christmas in lockdown, which proved to be a difficult period. This year, we decided to bring you two contrasting events to help us put all of that behind us, with all the joy and spirit that this period has to offer. For repertoire, we have chosen a bit of Christmas for everyone. So whatever your taste might be, there is something for you, your parents, your uncle, your children, your grandchildren and possibly your dog!

“The first evening, on December 4, will be an intimate candlelit choral concert with minimal instrumentation (organ and harp). This will be an evening to sit back, relax, listen and reflect. We will be joined by Bishop Peter Wheatley who will read and speak about some of the pieces.

“The second evening will be a big, joyous Christmas celebration, and will feature all your favourites including your favourite carols.”

You can buy tickets online as well as at The Bookkeeper St Leonards (unreserved seating).

The December 4 concert will feature the HPO Singers, Francis Rayner organ, Marcio da Silva conductor and Rosanna Rolton harp.

The programme will be: Pinkham Nativity Madrigal, Whitacre When David Heard, Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor, Debussy Valse Romantique and Britten Ceremony of Carols

“A Ceremony of Carols, Op 28, is an extended choral composition written by Britten in 1942 on his month-long sea voyage from the United States to England, his return journey after three years sojourn abroad.

“During the voyage the ship stopped in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Britten purchased a book of medieval poetry. Poems from this book, along with Gregorian Chant and other poetry spanning 14th to 16th century England, were the inspiration for the work, which includes elements of the Christmas narrative as well as references to the re-birth of spring. They retain their unique flavour due to Britten’s extensive use of old English language.

“The work was originally premiered by a women’s choir and then subsequently revised and published as a work for treble choir and harp although it has since been arranged for various voice combinations.”

The gala concert is on Saturday, December 18 at 7.30pm at Christ Church, St Leonards. The concert will include: Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite No 1; Anderson Sleigh Ride; Prokofiev Troika; Tchaikovsky Christmas Waltz; Vivaldi Winter; Humperdinck Hansel and Gretel Overture; Hark the Herald; O come all ye faithful; Berlioz The Shepherds Farewell; Once in Royal David’s City; Away in a Manger; and Silent Night. The concert will feature Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, Hastings Philharmonic Choir and HPO Songbirds.