Christmas Concerts 2018 : Review by Mike Sproule 

On 14 and 15 December at St James, the Guernsey Choral and Orchestral Society and Children's Choir, ably directed by Alan Gough, performed their annual festive concerts with generous support from Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management.

Dvorak's "Te Deum" served as a strong overture for the whole ensemble, including soloists Susanna Macrae (soprano) and Jacob Phillips (baritone) and led to a vibrant and thrilling conclusion.

The undoubted highlight of the first half was "Dunamis" by Chris Claxton for chorus and orchestra, composed to celebrate the 7oth Anniversary of the Society. It presented an eclectic mix of styles ranging from jazzy riffs to a full blown tempest from the nineteenth century oratorio tradition. Players and singers clearly very much relished its varied colours and it was most warmly received.

The centrepiece of the second half was "Fantasia on Christmas Carols" by Vaughan Williams, a spirited and sensitive dialogue between the Choir and Jacob Phillips, who was in splendid voice throughout.

Susanna Macrae brought a sweetness and homeliness to Walford Davies's "O Little Town of Bethlehem", which was also enchanting.

The Children's Choir presented a set of four varied carols and pieces, giving a full bodied and spirited performance, particularly of "Walking in the Air" by Howard Blake. Another delight was the Arabian exoticism to be heard in the adult choir's rendering of "We Three Kings" - all it lacked was camels!

We in the audience got our chance to raise the rafters with such hardy annuals as "Good King Wenceslas" and "Hark The Herald Angels Sing".

By now the Orchestra and Choir were sporting their flashing antlers and other sparkling appendages, a joy to behold! In short, a fine and full blooded celebration to launch the Christmas Season.