Choir impresses at seasonal service for Christmas time

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There was a wintry and festive feel at a North Northumberland church when a county choir was in place for a special Christmas service.

The lights were dim and the candles lit as 50 people gathered at Holy Trinity Church, Cambo, near the National Trust run Wallington, for a wonderfully versatile and varied programme of carols and singing from Coquetdale Chamber Choir.

The choir is 17 strong and was set up by internationally renowned composer John Casken, who is now based in the Coquet Valley.

The service was the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols led by the Priest in Charge of Kirkwhelpington, Kirkharle, Kirkheaton and Cambo, the Rev Jonathan Mason.

There were pieces by William Walton, Boris Ord, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Bejamin Britten, Anton Bruckner and Peter Warlock. Others were by living composers like John Joubert and Paul Mealor, with one by David Willcocks, who died two years ago.

They ranged from formal church music to an African-American spiritual and a West Indian traditional carol.

The retiring collection was for Bishop Christine’s Christmas Appeal for Asylum Seekers and Refugees. Tasty refreshments with mulled wine helped to make this a memorable evening for the choir and the congregation.

On the choir’s Facebook page Fiona Lander, who saw the group perform in Cambo, said: “A really lovely programme of music... so glad I came along. My first visit to Cambo Church and the first time I’ve heard the choir. Impressed by both. Now looking forward to hearing you all again in April at Holy Trinity Church in Redesale.”

The service was assisted by the Rev Frances Dower, who was a GP at Rothbury for 25 years. She trained to become a priest after retirement from the NHS.

The choir is based in Rothbury, but covers the county, performing at various locations.

Their repertoire is varied and the group is well known for its interesting programmes of music.