Concerts 2020-2021

Zoom into Christmas with Steventon Choral Society

Friday 18th December, 7.30 to 8.30 pm
A virtual charity Christmas concert by Zoom
Musical director and guitar: Terry Pearce
Pianist: Robert Thomas

With rehearsals having been suspended since March, this offering was SCS’s first ever virtual concert and its first public performance since its two Christmas concerts last year. It’s hard to know exactly how many people joined the Zoom event but it was at least 70.

Steventon Choral Society's virtual Christmas Concert by Zoom

Screenshot from Steventon Choral Society’s Zoom Christmas Concert, 18 December 2020

The concert featured live performances, digital ensembles and musical numbers from past Christmases. It consisted of a mixture of virtual recordings, videos and live items – all introduced by musical director, Terry Pearce. A slide show of photos from the choir’s album and festive images were shown during the virtual recordings.

The event was free to attend with donations invited to support the makeover of the Radiology Department Staff Room at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford as a thank you to the hardworking NHS staff who use it. Further details from the project’s JustGiving CrowdFunding page.

The concert began with a virtual recording by members of Steventon Choral Society, the well-known carol ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’. This was followed by a live reading of the short poem, ‘The Inconvenience of Christmas’, by SCS chairman, Caroline Miller, and a virtual recording of choir member Trish Napper singing ‘It Came Upon the Midnight Clear’. The first video of the concert featured one of the highlights of the Christmas Concert 2018 – Howard Feather, Luke Le Maitre, Phil Brazier and Crispin George singing a four-part arrangement of ‘I, the Lord of Sea and Sky’ (Here I Am, Lord) by the American composer, Dan Schutte. This was followed by a virtual recording of Rebecca Joisce singing the Christmas anthem, ‘Bethlehem Down’, accompanying herself on her autoharp. Next, in contrast, was a video from the Christmas Concert 2019 of Helen Pearce, Abby Evans and Fran Brightman with an arrangement of the well-known Christmas song, ‘Sleigh Ride’. And back again to the traditional, with a virtual recording of the carol, ‘Deck the Hall’, sung by Helen Pearce, Debbie West, Howard Feather and Terry Pearce.

Steventon Choral Society's musical director, Terry Pearce, with his wife Helen

Terry & Helen Pearce

Then it was back to the 20th century with a live reading of John Betjeman’s 1954 poem, ‘Christmas’, by John Hunt, a virtual recording of Howard Feather singing ‘Blue Christmas’ – a Christmas song made famous by Elvis Presley – and another video from the Christmas Concert 2019, this time featuring the whole choir singing John Rutter’s carol, ‘The Colours of Christmas’, written in 2011.

Next was a virtual recording of choir members singing the popular carol, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. Another poem followed: ‘Christmas Bells’ was read by Jack Jarvis, a founder member of Steventon Choral Society, in a video recorded earlier in the week in the chancel at St Michael and All Angels, Steventon. The next item, also a video recording, featured Helen Pearce singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, a song from the 1944 musical, ‘Meet Me in St Louis and starring Judy Garland.

Then it was time for some fun with a live performance of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ led by Helen and Terry Pearce, with various choir members ‘representing’ the 12 different days.

Screenshort of participants and others in Twelve Days of Christmas

Screenshot taken during The Twelve Days of Christmas

Finally after a short thank-you from SCS chairman, Caroline Miller, it was time for the last number, We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ – one of the tracks from the CD of carols and Christmas songs recorded by the choir in 2008.

This virtual concert would not have been possible without the wizardry of our technical team of Howard Feather, Tom Hartley and Debbie West. Many thanks to them and our accompanist Rob Thomas for all their efforts and hard work.

“Just watched the SCS concert, well done to all who took part.
👏 👏 👏 🎄 🎼 🎶 🎵🎄”

“Thank you for a brilliant concert, I really enjoyed it and it was so good to join in with some of our Christmas favourites.”