Review of our Christmas Concert, 2024

‘Brilliantly Beautiful and Bright’: Fareham’s Philharmonic Choir Celebrates Christmas.

Fareham’s Philharmonic choir celebrated Christmas in style on Saturday evening (16th) with a magical display of powerful pieces to classic carols.

By Isaac Maddock, a student journalist

A 60 strong choir, led by musical director Andrew Cleary, got together for an evening of angelic entertainment at the Holy Trinity Church, Fareham. With the choirs 125th year anniversary just around the corner, they wanted to put on a spectacular show.

The audience were treated to solos from the amazing Chris Williams, who is a bass-baritone soloist, singing with the choir for the first time. The show was opened by Vaughan Williams’ fantasia on Christmas carols which was accompanied by the smooth, peaceful sounds of the organ, played by the talented Sachin Gunga.

Musical director, Cleary, brilliantly engaged with the audience, encouraging us to join in with classic carols alongside the choir. The congregation were happy to oblige and were up and down from their seats throughout the evening. Among the crowd included the Mayor of Fareham who watched on from the pews and joined in with the carols.

Soloist, Williams, told me how much of a pleasure it was to sing with the choir, but also, he mentioned how difficult some of the songs were to perfect. His voice however turned out to be an operatic masterpiece and filled the church hall.

The interval saw the audience and choir indulge in mince pies and wine and then we were straight back to the action with a spine-tingling performance of Joy to the World. The singing was split up with a few readings from Christmas tales to humorous poems which gave the show an extra bit of fun.

The entertainment was finished off with a choral version of the classic carol, We Wish you a Merry Christmas and ended with the audience of just over a hundred giving a standing ovation to what was a spectacular evening of Christmas joy and outstanding voices.

Lots of the choir members I spoke to, told me how much the choir meant to them and how they’ve seen the group grow over recent years. Some mentioned about the struggles of rehearsing during covid using zoom and the drop in numbers that brought. Others spoke about the recent growth since covid seeing about 60 members weekly.

For more information or if you would like to join the choir head over to their website.