Choir prepares for Christmas concert in Axminster

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 December 2018

Musical director Peter Parshall. Picture: Steve Wakeley

Musical director Peter Parshall. Picture: Steve Wakeley


Axminster and District Choral Society is getting in the festive spirit, as its members prepare for the Christmas concert.

Following an emotionally exhausting but successful and well received Armistice concert in November, members of the Axminster and District Choral Society have settled quickly under their director of Music Peter Parshall to preparing for their annual Christmas event.

Entitled A Christmas Concert, it will feature the work usually referred to as Pergolesi’s Magnificat.

This canticle, which was probably, in fact, written by Pergolesi’s teacher Francesco Durante, forms a central part of the liturgy of the Christian Church.

It is Mary’s hymn of praise on learning that she is to be the mother of the Messiah. Whoever is responsible for this version, it is indisputably a glorious setting and one of the best known choral works from the early eighteenth century.

The concert also includes Gustav Holst’s ‘Christmas Day’, a medley of traditional carols, which includes Good Christian men rejoice.

This was originally a very old Latin Christmas song, called In Dulci Jubilo and it is indeed still often performed to the Latin words.

Holst was a contemporary and lifelong friend of Vaughan Williams and, like Williams, delighted in creating settings to old and popular traditional songs.

There was a tradition of using folk songs to teach illiterate church-goers the Gospel story. This hymn is a good example of that practice.

There will be Christmas carols for the audience to join and the choir will also perform well known and some lesser-known seasonal items.

The theme of the concert will be happiness and joy. To add to the entertainment, there will be mince pies and a glass of wine or a soft drink.

Tickets cost £10 and are available from Archway Books, Church Street, Axminster, phone 01297 33595

The performance at the Minster on Saturday, December 15, begins at 7.30pm.

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