The Perfect Festive Treat

12th December 2019
BY Carson White, Pupil

The Cantores Episcopi Mince Pie Concert is a staple of the end of term’s seasonal festivities. For two nights in the last weeks of term we are treated to the gorgeous a capella close harmony of the school's most accomplished singers led by Mr David Hurley, former King’s Singer and a formidable countertenor. The atmosphere in College Hall is wonderful and bubbly. The boys crowd along the tables and window ledges at the sides of this Medieval Hall, while the adults relax comfortably on their cushioned chairs. Despite this, both parties eagerly await an evening of excellent carols and delicious mince pies.

This year was no disappointment. From the moment the six members, Arthur, James, Luke, Nat, John and Dom glided in with Mr Hurley, all dressed impeccably and with an air of extreme professionalism, we were wowed by the group’s wonderful blend and sensitivity, and the lightness with which they carry their talent.

The first half of the concert was elegant but not lacking in moments of self-indulgent scrumptiousness: five English and European carols arranged with varying degrees of schmaltz and finishing with a lovely nod to the previous director of the group, Jamal Sutton, with his arrangement of The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy – a West Indian spiritual. After the interval the music was more modern including an arrangement of Jingle Bells by Ralph Allwood, which has become a loved set piece for this concert.

Amidst applause the group headed backstage to retrieve their famous purple and white scarves before returning for their encore. We were sad not to hear Mr Sutton's famous arrangement of The Twelve Days of Christmas but our appetite for more experimental, comic singing was more than satisfied this time by a Greek piece called To Kokoraki, which the audience greeted with a richly deserved mixture of laughter and hearty applause.

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