Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gig Review : Ripon Cathedral Choir Christmas Service 10*

I suspect that giving anything except a 10 out of 10 rating to a cathedral choir on Christmas Day might involve some form of higher editing, or divine punishment, but nevertheless the Christmas Day service at Ripon Cathedral really was an absolute joy. 

The Cathedral itself is visually stunning, beautiful and awe inspiring, but despite all of the architectural grandeur, the service itself, led by Canons Keith Punshon and Paul Greenwell was very human and accessible.  Laughter bounced around the Cathedral as they spoke about the thurifer bursting into flame as they lit it, and they was a fair amount of muffled coughing as the smoky clouds of incense drifted into the congregation.

The choir were wonderful, both the adult and children's sections performed really well, their voices soaring and exhilarating.   There is a special quality to children's voices used in this way, the confidence and assured manner in which they sang was both physically calming yet motivating and stimulating to your Christian convictions.  I have managed to lose my service sheet so can't remember which piece of singing has the overlapping call and response style to it, Agnus Dei perhaps ? Anyway, that piece was particularly wonderful.

The other great thing to having a really good choir is that they sing loudly and clearly, and this means the other members of the congregation can hear far less of me. 

I would highly recommend a visit to the Cathedral to hear the choir sing, doesn't matter if you are religious or not, just pop along to Evensong for some really great, and free, music.

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