A wonderful time of year for music

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The annual Wonder of Christmas concert of seasonal music and carols returned to the Alton Maltings on December 11.

It featured two of Alton’s choirs – the Alton Choral Society, conducted by Wendy Busby, and Ancora, conducted by Lii Carr, and the Alton Concert Band, conducted by Ian and Jeremy Morrish.

The concert opened with Christmas Glory, a rousing, swinging arrangement of Christmas carols performed by all. This was followed by Rutter’s Star Carol, accompanied by Jane Palmer, and unaccompanied carols Hail! Blessed Virgin Mary and In Dulci Jubilo performed by Ancora.

The band played Let It Snow, Gaudete, A Great And Mighty Wonder and Sans Day Carol, sung by the Alton Choral Society accompanied by Jane Palmer.

Prokofiev’s Troika was played by the Alton Concert Band, and the first half concluded with everybody performing excerpts from famous Christmas pieces by Vivaldi, Bach and Handel, culminating in the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

Following mince pies and mulled wine, the Alton Concert Band started the second half with Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride and Fantasia On A Christmas Greeting, including variations on a famous Christmas tune. Alton Choral Society sang While Shepherds Watched to the tune On Ilkley Moor, two Far Eastern carols arranged by Malcolm Sargent, Sing Ye Birds and Nature Carol, and Christmas Lullaby by John Rutter.

Compere Nick Wright topically reworked The Night Before Christmas and the Alton Concert Band performed Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival. Ancora sang Star Candles and White Christmas, and then Sing Hosanna To The Newborn King accompanied by bells. The finale saw everyone perform An English Christmas, a medley of carols, and the audience joined in on O Come All Ye Faithful.

The concert raised £1,000 for Home-Start Hampshire.

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