A touch of Christmas magic

Headshot of Christopher Gray, Director of Music at Truro Cathedral

 I love Christmas. I love the carols, I love the Christmas movies (I’ve already watched Miracle on 34th Street and don’t care that it’s still November), and I love working with children at a time of year when they are full of wonder and excitement.

Of course, everyone has their favourite carols, and one of the perks of my job is that I get to choose which ones are sung by the cathedral choir at its annual Christmas concert (in case you’re wondering, I tend to do this in late August). Familiarity is important, so I always include plenty of the classics, but it’s nice to have new arrangements to keep the well-known tunes fresh. This year’s highlight on that front will be ‘Jingle Bells’ arranged by Ben Parry. The arrangement relies on a strong low bass sound that will play to the choir’s strengths this year. It uses the most scrunchy of jazz harmonies, often at lightning speed, in truly making spirits bright from beginning to end. 

Some of our girl and boy choristers are very gifted soloists and, while I can’t let the tail wag the dog too much in trying to give everyone a chance, I have made a point of featuring our three girl head choristers for whom this will be their fifth and final Christmas concert as members of Truro Cathedral Choir. ‘O holy night’ usually comes out on top when they do surveys to establish the nation’s favourite carol, and I have included it as the opening item in our concert, with Katherine on the solo; Lowenna will sing the opening of Harold Darke’s ‘In the bleak midwinter’ (my personal favourite); and Helena will sing Kenneth Leighton’s haunting carol ‘Lully, lulla, lullay’.

In early September, I met with Juliet and Richard Lingham and brought the ideas above as well as lots of other lists of new carols I would like to include and ones that I feel have worked well in the past. Juliet and Richard bring lots of readings they have painstakingly garnered and we then develop a structure for the concert and start piecing the jigsaw together. You can see the end result in the programme (see the concert event page)

I like to think that all those movies inspire a little extra magic in the end result which I hope will be something that you actually love.    

Christopher Gray, director of Music.

To find out more information and to buy tickets for the up and coming Jingle all the Way concert please visit the What's On section of the website