Sunday 7 December 2014

Zum Nikolausfest!

Yesterday afternoon I did something different and am so glad I did. My German mistress from my secondary-school days invited me to a choral concert to celebrate Saint Nicholas (Sankt Nikolaus) Day.

"Saint Nicholas' Day, observed on December 6 (in Western Christian countries) and 19 December (in Eastern Christian countries), is the feast day of Saint Nicholas. It is celebrated as a Christian festival with particular regard to his reputation as a bringer of gifts, as well as through the attendance of mass or worship services" [© Wikipedia]

Gina is a member of an adult choir called Bravura and they, along with the experienced senior group named Silk, supported the main body, Cantus Chamber Choir. The concert was staged in association with the Anglo-Austrian Society under the musical direction of Daphne Sumbler.

The venue was the wonderfully welcoming Christ with All Saints Church in Heaton Norris (a suburb of Stockport). It was built in 1886 in what I presume is the Gothic Revival architectural style. There are a couple of fine stained-glass windows which catch the eye in the section now used as the church. Apparently the edifice was remodelled in the 1990’s to split into sections including a large, multi-purpose and well-used community hall.

The programme (image above) included pieces by Austrians such as Silent Night (Gruber), Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart) and Song of Peace (Haydn) as well as Englanders such as The Snow (Elgar), Coventry Carol (traditional; first written down by Robert Croo in 1534) and Walking in the Air (Blake). Additionally we were treated to other works from inter alia Africa, Europe and North America. I was expecting to listen to some fair to good amateur singing; instead I was delighted to be entertained by an incredibly professional team of dedicated and highly qualified artists.

If one did not consider the entry fee worth the performances with which we were presented, then the festive spread - literally across table after table - was a mouth-watering bacchanalia of goodies. Pfeffernüsse & Lebkuchen (gingerbread), marble-cake, mince pies, gâteaux, Apfelstrudel, Glühwein,…… Yummy!

"[C]hildren can (usually) expect to be rewarded by Saint Nicholas anyway, as long as they can tell him that they have been good: 'brav'!"

If he's reading, Saint Nick I have definitely been brav'!

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