Christmas Concert 2018
The weather outside was frightful, but the Chapel, warm and cosy, proved a sanctuary of merriment and beautiful music. Packed to the rafters, the St Anselm Hall and Canterbury Court Christmas Concert attracted 70 spectators including a dozen external guests—the highest attendance on record.
The night began and ended with drinks. Prosecco was served in the open JCR as the crowd gathered; guests from London, Birmingham, Manchester, and the east of England arrived, and the corridors of Dewar, Manor and Summerfield decanted into the common room. After the music was over, we all congregated in and around the Closed JCR for gluhwein and mince pies, the fun carrying well into the night.
All this drinking and mingling served as fitting bookends for the main event. The concert, arranged by our Musical Director and Sacristan, Harry Spain, proved the event of the term. The Warden opened proceedings with words of thanks and appreciation: a Hall is only a building, but it is the enthusiasm and commitment of the residents that make it such a special place. We all stood for Hark the Herald before a double hit from Thomas Rennie (guitar and vocals), and a spectacular duet by Dan Pett (viola) and Harry Spain (piano). We were also treated to Schubert by Ellis Lusted, as well as numbers from Keane (Amelia and Ewan) and Bach (Harry). Superb musicians all, and a special note to Amelia Nelson, the Courts RA President, for a breathtaking performance of Ludovico Einaudi’s Experience.
Father Hugh Bearn offered some very poignant and impassioned words about the Chapel and community, and how we are all lucky to a part of the Slems family. Hugh’s enthusiasm for the Chapel has been infectious—participation has increased week on week, and with the fundraiser gaining momentum, all our plans are looking to become a reality in 2019.
Thank you to the students and friends of Hall who came and made the evening so very special. We hope to be able to invite you all back next year for another concert, including our newly formed Choir and recently acquired harpsichord. The Hall continues to prosper, and is showing the best of culture developed from decades of effort and love—I am just very fortunate to be able to be the temporary custodian.