Review: Christmas Spectacular concert raises £1100 for Bluebell Wood and Helen’s Trust

Tideswell Male Voice Choir performing at Buxton Opera House
Tideswell Male Voice Choir performing at Buxton Opera House

Christmas is a time of giving....and golden-hearted supporters dug deep into their pockets to help two organisations which aid patients young and old.

A festive fundraising concert at the Winding Wheel, Chesterfield, raised £1102 which will be split between Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and Bakewell-based Helen’s Trust.

Tideswell Male Voice Choir’s annual Christmas Spectacular on Sunday, December 8, brought great joy to the audience who were treated to a variety of festive songs and tunes.

Newcomers this year were pupils from Longstone C.E. Primary School who joined forces with concert stalwarts South Darley C.E Primary School to create a combined choir of 81 singers. Their selection of cute Christmas songs was the most enchanting part of the evening and really brought home the magic of the festive season.

It was very hard to choose the best part of the children’s performance with much of it having the aah factor. The troupe of little ambassadors carrying flags of nations down the aisle in All Around The World brought a lump to the throat, the posse of cowboys in fur-trimmed stetson caused a smile in Cowboy Christmas as did the soloists who started off I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

Addressing their parents, tutor Louise Hopkins said: “You should be really proud of them. They have worked so hard and they have been a pleasure to teach.”

Much to the delight of the children, Sir Richard Arkwright’s Masson Mills Band changed their programme to play a medley of songs from Pirates of the Caribbean films, which drew the biggest cheer of the night.

Nearly as popular was Yule Dance in which carols such as A Little Town of Bethlehem, Good Christian Men Rejoice and I Saw Three Ships were given Riverdance treatment by the band (minus the dancing). This was significantly different to A Christmas Festival, the carol-themed concert opener which the brass band played under the guidance of musical director Mark Peacock.

Colin Davenport was trombone soloist for a shortened When A Child Is Born, enabling a bonus Big Band arrangement of We Three Kings, entitled Three Kings Swing, which featured Stuart Pearson as cornet soloist.

Tideswell Male Voice Choir opened their two spots with one of the best songs in its repertoire, the beautifully performed Anthem followed by equally well sung versions of Bridge Over Troubled Water and He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother.

The choir’s musical director, Dennis Kay, sang his trademark festive solo, Oh Holy Night, followed by the choir’s most ambitious choice and one of the vocal highlights of the night, Ring Out Wild Bells.

A Christmas Wish featuring greetings set to music rounded off a fine night for the choir’s talented singers.

Another bonus number came from Santa who joined he choir’s accompanist, Christopher Ellis, at the piano for a duet of Sleigh Ride. He then vanished, only to return with a heavy sack of presents for all the children.

During the course of the evening, Emma Vizor, fundraiser for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, and Zoe Woodward from Helen’s Trust, described the work done by the organisations, which are reliant on donations because they receive no government funding. Their talks were backed up by heart-tugging films in which relatives talked about how their families have been helped by the hospice and trust in difficult times.