The Paragon and Prior Park College music departments presented a magical evening last night in Our Lady of the Snows Chapel when they performed Wassail! composer Alexander L'Estrange's Carols of Comfort and Joy.
Children in Year 4 have been practicing for several months in the Music to perfect the harmonies in L'Estrange's large scale folk choral piece, which was performed with Prior Park College's Chapel Choirs, conducted by Mrs Sarah Kettlety, Head of Music at The Paragon and Mr Robertson, Director of Music at Prior Park.
It was a privilege to have the composer on site for rehearsals as well as for the performance, as he brought to life the story behind the music. L'Estrange explained that 'Wassail' both a noun and a verb is rich with connotations of Christmas, times gone by, celebrations, carol singing and the wishing of 'good health'. Wassail! explores the folk heritage of Christmas songs, and the concept of carols as dances as well as the tradition of singing and 'wassailing' door-to-door.
Children wore beautifully decorated top hats adorned with 'autumn leaves' which they had worked on in art lessons with Miss Hucks, as well as their christmas jumpers to get into the wassailing spirit.
Prior to Wassail! Year 6 soloists Bonamy Purcell sang 'Silent Night' and Lucia Hayward-Rodgers sang 'Part of this World' from The Little Mermaid - both were beautifully performed. Mr Sackett also conducted the College Orchestra who performed Bizet's 'Overture to Dr Miracle' and harpist Charlotte Gent performed 'Chaconne' by Jeremiah Clarke.
What a wonderful way to start our Christmas celebrations, and a huge well done to everyone involved in such an exciting and uplifiting performance.