Celebrating Christmas choral excellence

This Christmas, Southampton Music Hub has worked closely with two choirs — University of Southampton Voices and Southampton Choral Society — to put together two concerts celebrating choral excellence in Southampton.


The Bells of Paradise:

The first concert, The Bells of Paradise, took place at Swaythling Methodist Church on Friday 15th December. 

University of Southampton Voices — a 50 strong community choir based at the University of Southampton — were lead by their charismatic director, Harvey Brough, who also composed and arranged the music performed. Choirs from Swaythling Primary School and Cantell School worked with vocal workshop leaders from Southampton Music Hub in the run up to the event.

Harvey Brough, University of Southampton Voices Director, says:
“The young singers sang really well, I felt they really learned something about performing throughout the process and in the concert itself. I could feel the collective will to make it as good as possible and that’s such a valuable thing to tap into.”

Gemma Dyne, Head of Music at Cantell School, says:
“We had a really good time and it was very beneficial for all of the students taking part.”

Singers from St Annes rehearsing for their performance at Central Hall

Singers from St Annes rehearsing for their performance at Central Hall

Singers from Springhil school rehearsing for their performance at Central Hall

Singers from Springhil school rehearsing for their performance at Central Hall

Ceremony of Carols

The second concert, at Central Hall on Saturday 16th December, featured Southampton Choral Society, alongside choirs from Springhill and St Anne’s Catholic Schools, in a magical performance of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.

Workshop leaders from Southampton Music Hub worked with the schools to learn and rehearse the material which was brought together with harp accompaniment on the day, by conductor Graham Kidd. The demanding but beautiful music of Britten made a dramatic entrance processing in and out of the auditorium for the opening and closing plain chant. 

Diana Barnes, General Secretary of Southampton Choral Society, says:
“It was lovely to hear their young voices singing with enthusiasm and commitment, and we thoroughly enjoyed having them sing with us. We hope that we can have the opportunity again some time!”

Jenni McWilliams, Music Teacher at Springhill, says:
“This was an amazing opportunity for our pupils, we would definitely welcome working together again... they absolutely loved the whole experience.”

Gemma Nicholls, St Anne’s
“This was a wonderful event and a brilliant chance for the students to sing alongside singers from Springhill and Southampton Choral Society. The students all really enjoyed it.”

Nia Collins, Interim Hub Manager at Southampton Music Hub, says:
“Both of these choral concerts were extremely ambitious in their repertoire and as always the children and young people of Southampton schools were able to rise to the challenge admirably with some astonishing results! We have enjoyed working closely with schools, the university and community choirs who have all been extremely supportive in helping to bring these exciting celebration events together.”