21st December was an evening of pure joy – it is so good to hear the Name above all names, Jesus, sung so very quietly, and beautifully tapered – then, unbelievably, repeated even more softly, with due reverence, belief and feeling. If you bellow out the words ‘How silently, how silently’ where’s the meaning?

At Choir Director Andrew Naylor’s concert in St George’s Church recently, I sat a few yards away from the percussionist. There was never a dull moment for him, constantly retuning the drums, but I think I’ve had a promotion, for last night I sat directly behind organist Mark Wardell, able to marvel at his dancing feet on the foot pedals. I expect he’s glad he’s not an octopus, but with all those stops to control, sometimes he may be wishing he were!

Full marks to the audience, because there’s always someone who’s heard everything before, but no: when Andrew asked whether anyone present had heard ‘Carillon of Carols’ all went silent. Andrew complimented us all on our honesty, as this would be a one-off unique medley of audience requests. Mark stood at the front with a clip board as requests for Christmas music were shouted out to him. Here are a few of them: ‘Silent Night’, ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’, ‘Joy to the World’, ‘Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer’ and ‘I Saw Three Ships’ – I believe two others also, but I hadn’t a clip board with me! It was a unique and imaginative performance – sheer musical delight.

Christmas has certainly come to Pagham with the tingle factor once again! Thank you Chichester Voices.

by Shirley Witcomb

Proceeds from this concert will go to Rotary Charities (who kindly provided the capacity audience with drinks and mince pies).