Festive season off to a flyer at Chichester Festival Theatre

The band
The band

Christmas Concerts, Chichester Festival Theatre, until Saturday, December 8.

It’s one of the great Chichester traditions – and it’s firing on all cylinders this year. The CFT Christmas concerts got off to a flyer on Tuesday.

Some of us will always lament the absence of the massed choirs of Chichester school kids we used to get.

They made the concerts the complete Chichester showcase. It would be wonderful if the CFT saw fit to bring the children back in one day.

But there’s no denying that the exquisite artistry of the Cathedral Choir and the splendour and dash of The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth are a fantastic combination.

Under organist and master of the choristers Charles Harrison, Chichester Cathedral Choir continues to go from strength to strength, a fabulous reflection of our fabulous city.

Then in the second half, with the boys heading home for bed, we get the choir’s lay vicars performing as Close Company, showing themselves absolute masters of their art, but spicing it up with their own brand of wit.

The Twelve Days of Christmas in their hands is an absolute hoot. In between it all, we have the brilliance of the band, with Captain Andy Gregory returning for his second year – once again a natural with the chat, though matched this year by Charles Harrison who ribbed him mercilessly for an unfortunate memory lapse, all part of their easy banter.

But maybe the icing on this year’s Christmas cake is the fact that the band are now producing vocalists, and what a vocalist they produced for us tonight, a real Bublé in the making with his effortless charm.

Just a shame not to know his name. It’s definitely time the CFT produced again the proper programmes the Christmas concerts deserve. It’s good to know what’s coming and have a record of what we’ve just heard. Let’s have the programmes back!

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