Review: The Portsmouth Choral Union “Wassailing” with Castle Primary School

Maggie McMurray writes:

Wassail’ at Portsmouth Cathedral last Saturday fulfilled the promise of its title, with rich connotations of Christmas in times gone by, celebrations and carol singing; by 7pm the nave of the Cathedral was a buzz of anticipation and no-one left disappointed.

The children of Castle Primary, conducted by Andrew Jackson, enthusiastically sang their hearts out, The Twyford Carols by Joanna and Alexander L’Estrange and Sparkle and Shine by Isitt and Ager, thrilling the audience to thunderous applause.

The wonderful sound of Portsmouth Choral Union filled the Cathedral with traditional carols; each section of the choir, individually and collectively, bringing its own richness to the harmony and in What Child is This, creating a soothingly soaring sound that reached out across the vast arena of the Cathedral.

Following the interval, ably conducted by David Gostick and joyously accompanied by the Call Me Al Quintet, the collective voices of both choirs raised our own personal aspirations for a truly traditional Christmas of hearty good cheer: snow-clad villages, welcome odours of Christmas spice and warmly glowing doorways greeting the Christmas carollers. The recorder, piano accordion and percussion contributed much to the evening, creating the ambience of medieval times gone by.

With God bless you and Send you a Happy New Year still singing in our ears we spilled out from the cheerful atmosphere into the cold and windy streets of Old Portsmouth, warmly infused with the joy of Christmas, the lingering rhythms of ‘Wassail’ tempting my feet to dance . . .

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