Review: Ripon Christmas Spectacular concert

Ripon Christmas concert.
Ripon Christmas concert.
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There’s no better place to mark the arrival of the festive season than Ripon Cathedral.

Dressed for the season, it was the picture of a traditional Christmas. All it needed was the right Christmas music to fill it – and the performers certainly delivered.

The concert opened with Hark the Herald Angels Sing, delivered note-perfect by the members of Rock Up and Sing! and with beautiful backing from Ripon City Band. The sound filled the cavernous cathedral and started to spread the festive cheer on a chilly evening.

Having set the tone, the adults made way for the young singers from local schools. They performed three songs which may have been new to many of the audience members, but proved very popular.

Following the cheerful notes of Sleigh Ride performed with gusto by the band, Rock Up and Sing! returned to the stage with a pair of favourites from their repertoire of pop songs: Let the River Run and He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.

Their combined voices – around 200 of them – are always a powerful force and they more than held their own in the cathedral. Even more impressively, so did Professor Roger Webster, the renowned cornet player who gave a haunting performance of Caccini’s Ave Maria.

The first half concluded with the band joining them for a bright performance of A Christmas Fantasy.

Following the interval, the band, choir and cornet player each returned to deliver more to a welcoming audience. Highlights included Professor Webster’s soulful performance of Mary Did You Know and an exhilarating Mission 459, along with Rock Up and Sing!’s emotional take on Something Inside So Strong and the moving Come What May.

The band and choir reunited to end the evening with a fun and upbeat performance of A Christmas Festival, bringing together all the classic Christmas carols in a fast-paced, fun medley. The Santa hats and sparkling additions to their outfits put the final touch to a truly spectacular festive concert.

It is the second year the choir and the band have combined for a pre-Christmas extravaganza at Ripon Cathedral and the audience will certainly hope to be able to join them again next year, and for many years to come.