Sweet singing in the Choir
Earlier this week we caught up with our Director of Music, Timothy Noon, who is responsible for choosing and preparing the music for the Cathedral Choir's busy schedule of Christmas services and engagements.
Scott Mills played BBC Radio 1’s first Christmas song of the year in September this year. How early do you start working on Christmas repertoire with the Cathedral Choir?
Our timetable is pretty jam packed, so we tend to start looking at music for Advent and Christmas once we’re past Remembrance Sunday in November.
The Choristers will be busy over the Christmas weekend. Can you tell us a little more about what they might get up to?
They’ll be rehearsing for ‘The Grandisson’, our big carol service on Christmas Eve, making sure all the music is up to scratch as well as getting all the movement and processing. They’ll also be singing at the Crib service on Christmas Eve at midday, and at three services on Christmas Day itself. In between times, they will be having a trip to see Peter Pan at the theatre, and will be attending the odd party or two. A busy time – but they love it!
What are you looking forward to the most about your first Christmas at Exeter Cathedral?
I’ve heard lots and lots about ‘The Grandisson’ so I’m really looking forward to experiencing that, and also singing carols from the Minstrels’ Gallery on Christmas afternoon.
Traditional classics like Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing often top the polls of the UK’s most-loved carols. What might we hear from the Cathedral Choir this Christmas, and what’s your favourite?
We’ve tried to aim for something for everyone this year, with old favourites such as ‘In dulci jubilo’ and ‘Ding dong merrily’ sitting alongside modern classics, such as Eric Whitacre’s ‘Lux aurumque’.
How will you spend Christmas Day once the final service has finished?
I’m in charge of the turkey and all the trimmings for the family – we’ll eat in the evening – and we might open a bottle or two …
All the tickets for this year's Grandisson service have now been allocated, but you can still hear the choir at our services on Christmas Day.