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Where All is Peace

The Handful Chamber Choir

St Mary's Church, Bathwick

Where All is Peace: The Spirit of Christmas is a festive programme combining timeless carols, traditional songs and contemporary works by British and American composers.  With a focus on peace, hope and winter’s beauty, this concert will be the perfect opportunity to embrace the Christmas spirit through soul-stirring choral music.

You can expect to hear arrangements of familiar Christmas classics including In the Bleak Mid-Winter, The 12 Days of Christmas, and The Holly and the Ivy.  Alongside the traditional, there are pieces by celebrated contemporary composers.  Eric Whitacre’s little tree sets music to the poem by E. E. Cummings making a beautiful ode to a Christmas tree.  A contemplative celebration of nature and new life is heard in Bob Chilcott’s The Pear Tree Carol. The three movements of Indian-American composer Reena Esmail’s captivating A Winter Breviary explore the depths of winter's beauty and mystique. 

Prominently featured in the programme are five spirituals arranged by pacifist Sir Michael Tippett to feature in his oratorio A Child of Our Time.  These emotionally gripping songs - Steal Away; Nobody Knows the Trouble; Go down, Moses; O by and by; and Deep River - unite two extremes of the human condition, but in desolation they share the message of hope. 

Tying together music from Britain and the United States, the evening will premiere a new arrangement of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by The Handful’s Musical Director, Vicente Chavarría.  This piece for choir and hammered dulcimer peacefully weaves together two traditional melodies from each country.  

Other repertoire includes:

William Billings | Shiloh
arr. Chavarría | The Gloucestershire Wassail
Bob Chilcott | O Little Town
Eleanor Daley | Balulalow
Áine Mallon | Three Kings 
Elizabeth Poston | Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
Sir William Walton | What Cheer?

For this performance, the choir is pleased to be joined by pianist Jamie Hamilton and hammered dulcimer player Rob Millett.

Wonderful singing, utterly beautiful in its control and intensity.” - audience feedback

The Handful is a vibrant and ambitious chamber choir based in Bath. Founded over 20 years ago, the choir started out as a small ‘handful’ of experienced singers.  With former Musical Directors Christopher Finch and then Tomos Watkins, the choir grew both in size and in stature, enthralling audiences with its fine sound and imaginative programming.  Since Vicente Chavarría became Musical Director in 2021, the choir and their audience have enjoyed his exploration of a diverse repertoire and commitment to adventurous music-making.

The Handful | registered charity number: 1181469



Where All is Peace