The programme for the Advent Concert was rich in quality and variety. The Concert Band set the tone from the top with Dambusters’ March and White Christmas. The Brass Band then played a sensitive arrangement of Mozart, Ave Verum.

Chris Li and Sinfonia gave a most accomplished performance of Keyboard Concerto in A major by JS Bach.To play Bach well is one of the most difficult challenges a pianist can face and Chris was certainly up to it, his precise technique and control of rhythm being particularly notable. Sinfonia was equally impressive and the whole ensemble quite outstanding, as indeed it was when Sinfonia played Allegro from Sinfonia in D minor by Mendelssohn. Chamber Choir is another highly polished ensemble that can interpret complex choral works with accuracy, blend, balance and feeling.

Dean Close has a splendid Symphony Orchestra, some 60 or so pieces. It has too few opportunities in concert during the year and that makes the standard it attains all the more remarkable – while rehearsing every week of the year is vital, there is no substitute for the ‘match-day’ experience when it comes to raising levels of performance. Louis Morford, its leader, was the soloist in Allegro non troppo from Lalo, Symphonie Espagnole. Louis showed huge potential as a soloist with a full orchestra behind him and Orchestra showed

remarkable control in its role – one could sense orchestral players listening to and working with the soloist. After the Interval, Orchestra played two very well-known movements from Tchaikovsky, Romeo and Juliet and the seasonal ‘goodie’, Sleigh Ride. This was followed by three small ensembles of great quality. First, Girls Close Harmony rocked around the Christmas Tree, and very nicely they did too; second, a most professional and musical performance by Louis Morford (violin), Geraint Downing (‘cello) and Janice Ng (piano) of the Piano Trio, Primavera Porteña by Piazzolla – maybe a bit early for Spring but it’s the warmest December on record; and third, a wonderfully entertaining and off-beat Twelve Days of Christmas from the brilliant Boys Close Harmony. Jazz Band, with the excellent Dionne Eboreime as soloist, brought this fabulous concert to its close.

Congratulations to the hundred or so who performed and to those who conducted, directed, and stagemanaged.