Image: Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society
The year 2020 has been challenging for everyone, but particularly so for our choirs. Being unable to rehearse and perform together, many have had to develop new ways of keeping their choral communities alive. Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society (LCCS), along with friends from Penarth’s Cavatina Singers and Cheltenham Choral Society, have done just that by creating a unique virtual concert of original Christmas music entitled Winter Legends, Christmas Bells.
The common link between the choirs is conductor Alex Thacker, who is musical director of all three. As well as Alex himself, LCCS is blessed to have two other composers in its midst, bass Ian Lawson and tenor Ben Heneghan. The concert features an eclectic mix of six original works by the trio. Winter Legends itself is a collection of four secular but Christmas-related songs for choir and orchestra by Heneghan, while Thacker’s own contributions, A Babe is Born and Cantemus in choro have a more traditional flavour. Lawson’s works include Cradle Song, featuring text by Longfellow, and Christmas Bells, which has words by Robert McIntyre.
Choir members have spent the last two months recording their individual parts at home before having them mixed together to form a combined choral performance. ‘In normal times, I would think it pretty unlikely that a programme of entirely new Christmas music would ever be contemplated’, says Lawson, who has also produced the final recordings in his own studio.
LCCS chairperson, Caroline Lynch-Blosse, is delighted with how the project has helped keep the choirs together and how everyone has embraced new technologies to make it happen, ‘The choirs have been wholly behind this complex project and the results promise to be spectacular and uplifting- we very much hope that everyone will find something exciting and intriguing in this event’.
Winter Legends, Christmas Bells will be free to access and details provided on the LCCS website (https://llandaffcathedralchoralsociety.org/) from December 1st, when the premiere takes place. Those accessing the concert will be encouraged to make donations to the Help Musicians’ Coronavirus Hardship Fund.