CHRISTMAS came early to Callow End as Powick Parish Community Choir and Powick Strings leader Richard Lane, performed a special carol concert at the Callow Great Hall at Stanbrook Abbey on Monday December 17.

Two sell-out performances were enjoyed by the audiences who joined in the singing of Hark the Herald and Jerusalem.

The programme was divided into three sections: 2012 A Proud British Nation with patriotic songs, including Zadok the Priest (Handel) and Elgar’s Nimrod (played by the Strings); four excerpts from The Messiah by Handel, including Glory to God and the Hallelujah Chorus and a solo performance by Jenny Newton of How Beautiful are the Feet; and the final section reflected Christmas with carols including In the Bleak Midwinter sung by Sally Green and O Holy Night by Jenny.

Musical director Tom Wells conducted the choir. The excellent accompanist on piano, organ and harpsichord was Charles Pavey and Charlotte Ellis played the trumpet to accompany several pieces.

Special thanks go to Robin Shuard and Mark Skyrme on lighting and sound and to members of the committee under chairman John Hadley. The choir is grateful to the owners of Stanbrook Abbey for the use of their wonderful venue.

On Christmas Eve the crib service took place in St James’ Church. The story was narrated from the viewpoint of the Innkeeper (Meg Allsopp) and Frances Betts narrated the story of the animals visiting the stable followed by Mary and Joseph and the shepherds by using the computer images.

The children were able to dress up as characters and to place the figures in the crib.

Services in the new year take place at St James’ at 9.30am with Epiphany (The Coming of the Magi) on Sunday and with Plough Sunday on January 13.