With another year nearly over, ‘tis the season for roasting chestnuts, being with loved ones and singing carols. And what better way to celebrate Christmas than with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Celebration of Christmas Carols at the Lighthouse on the eve of Christmas Eve.

As in previous years, the capacity hall saw people from nine to ninety coming together to sing such festive favourites as O Come All Ye Faithful, Good King Wenceslas and Hark the Herald Angels.

The audience joined in the traditional carols, headed by the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, with gusto, and there was a merry buzz in the auditorium, in spite of some truly dreadful cracker jokes between presenter Dougie Scarf and conductor Frank Zielhorst.

These were well-balanced with classy poetry, in particular A. A. Milne’s King John’s Christmas.

Highlights of the evening were the lesser known pieces – Corelli’s ‘Christmas’ Concerto and Warlock’s Bethlehem Down – during which the orchestra proved its virtuosity.

There was some truly lyrical string playing in the second movement of the Correlli, and the soothing harmonies provided moments of much-needed calm at a hectic time of year.

Amongst these gems were more popular works such as Star Carol by John Rutter, during which the Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus shone.

Following the interval, members of theOrchestra and choir returned to stage, decked liberally in tinsel, hats, and Christmas jumpers.

By this point, the audience were full of Christmas spirit, humming along to the orchestra’s rendition of Silent Night and Joy to the World during Anderson’s A Christmas Festival.

The penultimate piece in the programme, Anderson’s jazzy Sleigh Ride, had the audience bobbing in their seats, and after a particularly fine ‘whinny’ from the trumpets, they responded with woops and cheers.

The concert finished with rousing renditions of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus (from Messiah) and We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a standing ovation from the enthusiastic audience.

If that’s anything to go on, I highly recommend you write it in your 2016 diaries immediately – it’s not a show to be missed!

By Meg Fisher