Composer and conductor gets Christmas started

FOR renowned composer and conductor John Rutter, Christmas is all about the music.

“It’s not cooking the turkey, because quite honestly my wife does that better than I would,” he laughs. “For me it really gets going when I’m standing up there conducting a lovely choir and all these favourite carols I still enjoy every year.”

He’s bringing his ever popular Christmas Celebration to Ipswich for the first time this Friday.

Joining him will be the brass section of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Choir of the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook.

“Last year I invited the choir to take part in the equivalent concert I do at the Royal Albert Hall. They did such a great job that when the opportunity came up to do a local version I thought getting them involved was too good to miss.”

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There’ll be a festive selection of choral and orchestral pieces, as well as sing-a-long carols.

The latter will include some of the hundred or so John’s written over the years, some nice, slightly unusual choices made by the school’s director of music Peter Crompton and some by East Anglian composer Benjamin Britten.

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Helping to get the audience singing along will be vocal eight-piece group Over the Bridge.

“They’re a wonderful group of guys who are just starting out, but I snapped them up because they’re so terrific. They’ll be singing some Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland, Wonderful Christmas Time.”

John is particularly excited about the installation of a state-of-the art digital organ.

“It’s being shipped in specially and is going to transform the Regent into a mighty cathedral. It’s going to be quite a night and we hope the audience have brought their voices with them; it’s going to be one of those, I hope, warm, friendly Christmas evenings to get your seasonal spirits going.”

John Rutter’s Christmas Celebration starts at 7.30pm, at the Ipswich Regent, on Friday.

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