AS the festive season comes ever-nearer, it was the turn last night of Colne Valley Male Voice Choir to host their popular Christmas Concert at Huddersfield Town Hall.
And with special guests, Grimethorpe Colliery Band, recently crowned Brass in Concert champions for a fifth successive year, they were guaranteed another successful evening in front of a packed house.
The choir opened with W Rickett's compelling Creation with effective lighting complimenting their sotto voce passages before turning on the power with a stirring finale which literally lit up the concert hall.
The band meanwhile began with the well-known New Colonial before turning to principal cornet player Richard Marshall who delivered a great piece of trumpet swing in Everybody Loves The Blues.
As composers try to produce differing arrangements to well-known (and perhaps sometimes well-worn) tunes they can occasionally become a little too clever, and in attempting an unusual variation on the old theme of The Holly And The Ivy with bassoon accompaniment, the choir briefly came to grief, when, as conductor Thom Meredith conceded "we got our modulations a little mixed up."
However, the choir, band, organ and audience were all in synch for the rousing Christmas Hymn, Christians Awake.
Grimethorpe's Richard Brown gave a sleazy
New Orleans' type of trombone rendition to Londonderry Air, before a stirring first act finale, combining choir, organ and band in The Holy City with Raymond Ellis as soloist.
In the second half soprano cornet star Kevin Crockford and Ian Shires on flugel horn gave a super duet in Julian Lloyd-Webber's Pie Jesu, while compere Gordon Stewart also got in on the solo spots with Variations On A Theme Of Rudolph played on the Father Willis organ.
But certainly the biggest hand of the night went to one of Grimethorpe's amazing percussionists Gavin Pritchard for his stupendous xylophone solo Helter Skelter.
The choir closed with Winter Wonderland, complete with Sleighbells, and When The Saints, before a combined Hark The Herald Angels and A Christmas Fantasy brought the evening to a close.