Wokingham is in good voice this festive season.
Last weekend I went to the Loddon Valley concert, given by the Maestros youth orchestra and the massed primary schools choirs. James Baker led it well, getting a strong sound from the singers, and a great performance from the instrumentalists. One of the highlights of Christmas is always the Maestros Sleigh Ride, with especially energetic percussion to carry us on that great imaginary journey through the snow. Dressed in dinner jackets and evening wear with plenty of tinsel and flashing lights, the Maestros know how to put on a show. A group of recorder players had their own solo which gave some live concert experience to younger musicians. It was a magic evening, with an attendance of around 1000 people.
On friday I joined the Mayor and Councillors at the Shute End Christmas event. The Maestros were on good form again, dressed down in their logo sweat shirts. This afternoon I heard the Trinity band deliver their Christmas matinee for children, as part of the celebrations of their tenth year. They catered well for the very young ones in the audience, letting them join in at the end with bells and tambourines. The sweet distribution was also popular. They performed a great medley of Christmas music, with help from Caversham Park Juniors choir.
I would like to say a big thank you to all the local choirs, bands and orchestras who do so much to entertain us and keep the seasonal traditions going.
I also fitted in a trip to Magdalen College Oxford to hear their superb professional choir. Their trained voices lifted spirits and filled the chapel and antechapel. The descants soared and the high notes thrilled. It was reminder of what excellence sounds like, a tribute to hard work and high standards, in the evocative setting of a medieval chapel by candlelight.