A Round-Up of Music

Read the latest from the Music Department, including Candlelit Carols and the Carol Service

As we approach Christmas for what will inevitably be a rather ‘different’ festive period this year, the Music Department has continued to keep as much a sense of normality in order to lead the Charterhouse community into the Christmas spirit. With the beautiful Christmas tree up in Chapel, the mist and fog of a December morning and the ringing of seasonal melodies around the department, at least there is some sense that the festive season is upon us.

Christmas at Charterhouse is always marked by two occasions – Candlelit Carols and the Carol Service. Chapel Choir have worked incredibly hard all term with newcomers Aurora Wu and Hattie Palmer stepping into the soprano line to great aplomb. The culmination of rehearsals and recordings, all amidst everyone’s very busy schedules, was a truly wonderful Candlelit Carols last Friday. In a candlelit Chapel, with the Christmas tree aglow and the hauntingly atmospheric Memorial Chapel surroundings, Mr Shepherd led the choir through a series of traditional and new carols to a captive audience. Highlights included some wonderful solos from Eva Pomery and Sam Troy, both in their final Candlelit outings, as well as Taki Ejima-Dalley and Hattie Palmer. Head of woodwind, Mr Corkin, also offered an ethereal saxophone solo over the top of the choral soundscape in Samuel Rathbone’s O Root of Jesse, a beautiful instrumental addition to proceedings. As ever, readings punctuated the service which, for many, truly marks the start of the festive season. Restrictions meant that many of our usual audience members were unable to witness the event, however, the service can be seen again here:

This final week of term is usually marked with the Carol Service although, as with Remembrance earlier in the term, year group assemblies have meant Chapel Choir stepping into the stalls four times over to delight the masses. A selection of carols, including a traditional Once in Royal and Hark! The Herald angels sing, amongst readings and prayers, meant for a short, but sweet, Christmassy offering to the school community and a well-wishing before the end of term.

We all know this has been a ‘different’ term, a ‘different’ year and we’re now turning to what will be a ‘different’ Christmas with loved ones. At Christmas, music plays a huge part of people’s festive period and to have this time without music would seem most odd. Looking back on the term, Carthusians can be proud of everything they’ve achieved, in adversity and against the odds. Music has continued to spread joy and one can only hope that a positive outlook will come out of all of this, when we inevitably leave the Covid-shaped tunnel. Perhaps the news of a vaccine could well be the tidings of great joy this Christmas that we’ve all been waiting for.