Tidings of Joy Christmas Concert

St John’s Church, Weymouth

What a pleasure it was to hear two of Dorset’s best-loved musical institutions, the Weymouth Choral Society and the Dorset Sinfonia performing together in a glorious Christmas concert to end the Weymouth musical year.

Under the baton of musical director Helen Brind the choir and orchestra gave a Tidings of Joy concert at St John’s Church which delighted a packed audience.

Brind masterfully blended the two groups into a much bigger ensemble than is usually heard in Weymouth and the music resounded around the lofty wooden rafters of St John’s.

The tone of concert was both religious and festive.

The music ranged from traditional carols to selections from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, an unusual choice but one which gave the Sinfonia the opportunity to demonstrate their musicality.

Soprano Caroline Thomas gave rich and resonant renderings of excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, including the ever popular ‘Glory to God’ and ‘Rejoice Greatly’ with their powerful legato phrases.

As always, the whole concert was strongly supported by accompanist Louise Dukes at the piano, skilfully varying the pace and tone for this wide variety of music.

In A Christmas Festival, the Sinfonia performed a vigorous medley of Christmas tunes, and elsewhere, another seasonal favourite – the Dance of the Mirlitons from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.

The choir drew special applause for its outreach to the audience through their fluent crafting of Arthur Worrell’s arrangement of We wish you a Merry Christmas.

Nor was the audience left out. Repeatedly called to their feet, they enthusiastically joined choir and orchestra in well-known carols, opening the concert with O Come all ye Faithful and ending with Hark the Herald Angels Sing which brought the evening to a resounding close.

Norman Hartley