GUISBOROUGH Choral Society made a welcome return recently with their Christmas Concert at the Guisborough Methodist Church.

This was their first performance since the Covid-19 pandemic had halted live entertainment. The Choir was joined in the evening by the Prior Pursglove (College) Vocal Ensemble.

The Choir and Ensemble performed eight popular carols where the audience was encouraged to join in and savour the atmosphere and the concert opened with O Come all ye Faithful.

Many of the other songs performed were also familiar Christmas songs and carols, and the Choir was in superb voice as usual. A solo performance of Schonberg’s, Bring Him Home, from Les Miserables was brilliantly given by Prior Pursglove Ensemble member, George Manley, which brought sustained applause from the audience and the choir members. He is studying music and psychology at the Pursglove College.

The Prior Pursglove Ensemble also sang Gaudete, which was particularly appropriate as the following day was the third Sunday of Advent in the liturgical calendar of Western Christianity and is known as Gaudete Sunday.

Gaudete, of Swedish origin, was made famous by the group, Steeleye Span, in 1972. The Ensemble comprised students Luke Booth, Lauren Hinton, Alisha Robinson, Anna Robson and, of course, George Manley. The concert ended with the Choir offering the roundel, We wish you a Merry Christmas.

Previous Christmas Concerts by the Choral Society were accompanied by the Guisborough Salvation Army Band, but that was not possible this year so accompaniment was provided on the piano by Ms Helen Kirk, who is subject leader for Music at the Prior Pursglove and Stockton Sixth Form College. She conducts the College Ensemble and is musical director for their annual productions.

This year, the guest conductor was John Dixon, who had been a private music teacher at Teesside University, retiring as a senior lecturer in music in 2014. This evening’s concert was dedicated to the memory of the late Julie Stevens, a choir stalwart.

The Choral Society meets to rehearse during term time on Wednesday evenings at Sunnyfield House Community Centre in Guisborough and new members are always welcome. Call 07463 089288 for details.

Brian Gleeson