The families and friends of the Colne Valley Male Voice Choir are astonishing, writes Chris Robins.

This audience became an accomplished and inspiring impromptu 1,000-strong choir in the come-all-ye carols, and their Christians Awake was seriously good by any standard.

With supporters like these, it is no wonder that the Choir itself is also seriously good.

They sound as one voice; their warm sonority and sustained tone have just enough bright edge to allow athletic and clear articulation; intonation and ensemble are guaranteed.

Their Musical Director Thom Meredith has, in the 25 years he has been with them, created a major musical force.

As if that were not enough, he is nurturing a ‘youth wing’ – Colne Valley Boys – littlies through to fresh, just-broken teenage voices who have the qualities of the men in embryo.

Their South African folk song Shosholoza – sung in Ndebele I think, or was it Zulu – was simply stunning. Yet still not enough, Thom performed the almost impossible – singing baritone solo while conducting You Raise Me Up.

His Choir can perform anything with equal fidelity, from Morten Lauridsen’s setting of the Christmas Matins chant O Magnum Mysterium to the deliciously overblown Victorian parlour ballad The Star of Bethlehem.

So too can their guests, the Brighouse and Rastrick Band. From the sensitive and elegiac Czech Rocking Carol with fl�gelhorn soloist Lucy Cutt, through Monti’s Czardas with euphonium soloist David Thornton, to the circus march The Waltonian, they were fabulous.

This gold standard Christmas concert was compered with genius by regional treasure Simon Lindley in his best avuncular, erudite and entertaining manner.