Magical Sounds of Christmas concert at Wimborne Minster

Our fabulous Sounds of Christmas concert at Wimborne Minster on 11 December was full of festive favourites, from carols to film music and beyond. 

Band rehearsing in Wimborne Minster church

Conductor Simon and the band rehearsing at Wimborne Minster

The spiritual and atmospheric Wimborne Minster provided the perfect venue for the band’s first Christmas concert in over two years. It was a wonderful and seasonal collection that Simon, our conductor, put together with a fantastic programme including new music and traditional carols as well as some old favourites.

A festive first half in Wimborne Minster

Leaves in foreground of band rehearsing

Guest conductor for the evening rehearsing with the band at Wimborne Minster

Highlights of Part One included the opening Festival Flourish, John Rutter’s beautiful ‘Candlelight Carol’, pantomime favourite ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and a celebration of Hanukkah with Adam Gorb’s ragtime/Jewish folk mix ‘Eine Kleine Yiddishe Ragmusik’.

Part one concluded with my opportunity to lead the band as guest conductor. During the summer I had agreed to ‘wave a stick’ for some of our rehearsals and was asked to conduct a few pieces for this concert. In the concert I had the fun part of encouraging the audience to sing a selection of popular Christmas songs, supported by the band’s very own voice, Lizzie. I then conducted a very atmospheric arrangement of one of the nation’s favourite carols, Gustav Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter. We finished with a classic John Williams film score, Home Alone at Christmas.

Christmas concert part two

Band rehearsing and singer practising in Wimborne Minster

Conducting the band at our rehearsal before the concert with singer Lizzie

Part two opened with an unexpected show of Simon’s Christmas spirit. Just before baton down he took off his jacket to reveal a festive red waistcoat with a Santa Claus grinning on the back. Our singer Lizzie was introduced to the microphone again for a beautiful rendition of ‘Grown-Up Christmas List’.

Following on, the band performed a Sammy Nestico arrangement of some Christmas favourites. These included ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas’, ‘The Christmas Song’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman’. This was followed by a band classic, ‘Sleigh Ride’. The audience then sang along as we played ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘Once in Royal David’s City’.

A Christmassy finale resonated through the Minster

Robin on straw nativity roof and band rehearsing

A robin on the nativity roof in the church, with the band practising in the background

The finale started with a moving arrangement of children’s favourite ‘Away in a Manger’. This was followed segue by the final movement of Eric Ball’s ‘The Kingdom Triumphant’, triumphantly finishing on an epic chord that resonated throughout the Minster.

No Christmas concert would be complete without a rendition of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ which was duly performed as an encore.

Xylophone in foreground of band rehearsing

Practising with the band again before the Christmas concert

There were some fantastic comments from the audience as they left the venue. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the evening, returning home feeling Christmassy.

A huge thank you to Simon for putting together such a wonderful concert. We are all truly proud to be part of such a hardworking and talented group of musicians.

By bassoonist and guest conductor, Graham

Check out photos and videos of the concert on our Facebook and Instagram pages. You can also take a look at our blog about our Spring 2019 Song and Dance concert at Wimborne Minster.