Today is Advent Sunday but for me the Christmas season kicked off yesterday with the morning spent gift shopping and the afternoon singing/listening to the Messiah.
I was brought up in India, in a city called Pune, which boasted its own choral society. My parents were both members and I spent many a happy hour sitting at the back of a dusty hall listening to them practice for performances of Judas Maccabeus, Elijah, the Creation and, of course, the Messiah. My dad had a fine tenor voice and I can still hear his voice when I listen to one or other of the well known arias.
I've been a member of the Gasworks choir for the last three years. We sing alcapella, so following a score was a novelty and took me back to school and unversity days.
After we'd sung for two hours we took a short break before returning to the hall to hear the Bristol Choral Society perform (from memory) a Mini Messiah to an audience of parents and children. It's a tribute to the quality of the chorus and musicians and to Adrian Partington's witty and informative commentary that between them they managed to hold the childrens' attention for an hour. There were the patter of little feet, the murmur of childish voices and the odd wail but it was heartening to witness children being introduced to one of the greatest works of choral music in much the same way as I was so many years ago.