‘‘Concert provided a mixed programme, to create a fun and seasonal occasion”

On Thursday, 6th December, at the Good Shepherd Chapel, the W.I.T. Christmas Concert provided a mixed (and all the more enjoyable for the selection) programme, to create a fun and seasonal occasion. The Youth orchestra, under the baton of Deirdre Scanlon (and including a few older youths) opened the evening with a busy and brassy Overture to Zampa. This piece gave good scope for solo work in drums, cymbals, trombone, French horn and a fine clarinet solo from Orla Quinlan.

The Jimmy O’Brien-Moran led Traditional Group followed with a quality session of reels, jigs and slides. A set of Polkas gave a fine Patrick Kavanagh feel to a Christmas and Stephen’s Day pieces. Programmes for these events are a bit short on performers names and this group featured a fine line-up on flutes, fiddles, bodhran, banjos, concertina and uileann pipes.

A small sized Big Band group with a tuba and quality tenor sax work showed the occasional quality of the W.I.T. Jazz Ensemble. Phil Collins directed an un-swinging Tuxedo Junction but a moody Night Train followed by My Favourite Things made up for any improvised looseness and the closing In The Mood was a crowd-pleasing blast.

After a too-long interval, the mezzo-soprano, Bridget Knowles, was in glorious form for a Brahms Trio Op 91, with Eric Sweeney on piano and Deirdre Scanlon on viola. There was longing and sad romance as golden evening turned into the winter birth in Bethlehem. What a beautiful interlude.

David Rhodes continued the seasonal mood as he conducted a strong W.I.T. Chamber Choir in some Warlock carols with Stephanie Foley singing the soprano solo. A Holst Lullaby My Liking was magical and the female voices were wonderful. Four Holst setting of old English carols provided a gentle but beautiful finale to a fine evening.