CHRISTMAS arrived in Tavistock on Saturday night, just a few days shy of the start of Advent, when the Tamar Valley Male Voice Choir held their ‘Looking Forward to Christmas’ concert in St Eustachius’ Church.

It was, everyone agreed, a filthy night, with the rain bucketing down. It may have deterred a few people but there were still enough hardy souls in the audience to fill both sides of the aisle. A few were missing from the ranks of the choir, but there was a good turnout nonetheless.

The concert, also featured guest duo Silvington, a fabulous folk duo of Trisha Moore and John Connor, an unexpected treat. I read afterwards that they have been compared to folk legends Euan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, which is in fact not an overblown comparison. Trisha’s voice is superb.

The male voice choir were in fine voice too, led ably by their director of music Rosemary Cole and with David Crocker as the accompanist, on piano and organ.

It was a festive repertoire which had many unusual elements, including the St Day Carol, a traditional Cornish carol related to The Holly and the Ivy, New Zealand carol Te Harinui, and unusual arrangements of other traditional carols as well as a fun version of the Schneewalzer – the snow waltz – which saw everyone swinging along and raising their hands in the air. For this finale, the choir all donned their Santa hats and other festive headgear.

All in all, it was a fabulous evening, a real tonic in the current gloomy times. The choir were founded in 2006 and are a friendly bunch, who welcome new members, meeting to practise every Tuesday night at Callington Methodist Church.

The choir, whose members come from both sides of the Tamar Valley as well as further afield, have four concerts coming up in the run to Christmas

They will sing at Emmanuel Church in Plymouth on Friday, December 2; St Nicholas and St Faith Church in Saltash on Friday, December 9; Callington Methodist Church on Saturday, December 10; and St Mary’s Church in Bratton Clovelly on Friday, December 16. See