Cheryl Thomas, a long standing Soprano member of the choir, shares her memories of this event.
The first Promise of Christmas took place in December 2000 and the original concept and commitment to a concert filled with Christmas music of the highest quality, sung and played to the highest standard, remains to this day. The Promise of Christmas 2019 did not disappoint.
Even allowing for my bias as an ‘insider’ the recent Promise of Christmas, incorporating The St David’s Praise Choir and The Promise of Christmas Youth Choir alongside Cambrensis Choir and Orchestra, was a night to remember! From the opening bars of Jeff’s choral fanfare ‘Come and Behold Him’ leading into the wonderful congregational carol ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. we knew we were in for a spectacular evening celebrating Immanuel – God with us!
Hours and hours of choir rehearsals came together as each item was presented with as much love and enthusiasm as the next. But more than that – we worshipped. There was cuteness overload as the youth choir (beautifully conducted by Emily Witts in amazing sparkly shoes!) sang several great songs ( complete with fantastic soloists), plus who can forget the older girls of the youth choir sharing an incredibly accurate and sophisticated performance of ‘ White Winter Hymnal’ by Pentatonix?
It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
From Cambrensis there was Lauridsen’s glorious ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ and the toe-tapping ‘African Noel’ interspersed with well loved congregational carols and contemporary Christmas songs including Mark Hayes’ catchy ‘Great, Great Joy’ and the spine-tingling ‘Fullness of Grace’ courtesy of the Gettys and Stuart Townend. I mean, would it even BE a Christian event if there wasn’t something from them?
The whole evening was wonderfully uplifting but two things stand out in my personal recollection of the event: the brilliant Cambrensis Orchestra playing John Williams’ ‘Flight To Neverland’ and our MD Jeff Howard’s arrangement of ‘Jesus, God’s Righteousness Revealed’ which saw every single person on stage taking part. Emotional to say the least; both of these moments can be viewed over on the Cambrensis Facebook page.
We never take our audience for granted and, as usual, they were warm and responsive as Jeff directed them as to when they should sing – and also when they shouldn’t! The wall of sound from a packed to the rafters St David’s Hall as it hits the performers on stage cannot be adequately described, but suffice to say that eyes tend to become blurry.
Last, but very definitely not least, we come to Jeffrey Howard – the person who magnificently held the whole evening together. He did so with expertise, patience and humour, and performers and audience alike showed their appreciation with a standing ovation. A truly memorable occasion to begin the most wonderful time of the year.
So what are you doing on December 5th 2020?