Breast Cancer Care Carol Service, Sheffield Cathedral, Wednesday (December 10), 7pm - to reserve tickets, 0114 263 6471 or www.breastcarecancer.org.uk
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Carol Service, Sheffield Cathedral, Thursday (December 11), 7.30pm.
Cathedral Archer Project Carol Service, Sheffield Cathedral, Friday, 12.30pm.
Carols at Firth Hall, from SingSoc, the University of Sheffield Singers’ Society, which this year turns its attention to Sheffield carols (an industry in itself!), as well as traditional carols and the usual congregational items. So expect such pieces from around the city, especially the north where the carol-singing tradition is particularly strong, such as Oughtibridge, Mount Moriah, Stannington and Sweet Chiming Bells, plus a new Christmas medley written for the society by Robert Webb. Firth Hall, Western Bank, Friday, 7.45pm – £8, £4 concessions.
Carols Galore, extremely popular event aimed at shoppers, though not exclusively, to go and let rip with festive favourites at this time of year – two opportunities this time round! at Sheffield Cathedral, Saturday, 11am and 1pm
Philharmonic Christmas Concert, long-running, annual Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus event once again in the company of the world-famous Black Dyke Band, but only two ‘congregational’ items this year, Once in Royal David’s City and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, so it will be more a case of humming along, though you may struggle with the opening choral piece by Praetorius, A Great and Mighty Wonder. Other choral offerings include Ding Dong Merrily; Hail, Smiling Morn! (Sheffield carol); Sans Day Carol; Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (Poston); Calypso Carol and, in with the band, O Holy Night (Adam) and Angelicus – carol medley. Band-only items include Do they know it’s Christmas, The Holly and the Ivy and Santa-Claustrophobia. BBC Radio Sheffield’s Paulette Edwards is this year’s presenter, Neil Taylor provides organ support and the respective conductors are Darius Battiwalla (chorus) and Nicholas Childs (band). City Hall, Saturday, 3pm and 7pm – £20, £18, £15, £5 students, under 18s. Tickets from http://www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk/events/Christmas-Concert-2014
Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, not related to the foregoing chorus presents its annual family Christmas Concert, the main course being Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf with two Leroy Anderson pieces also scheduled, Christmas Festival Overture and Sleigh Ride, plus “other Christmas Favourites.” No mention of a narrator for the Prokofiev, but there is of Rotherham Youth Orchestra and Dobcroft School involvement and the concert is raising funds for St Andrew’s Child Contact Centre. Victoria Hall, Norfolk Street, Saturday, 3.30pm – £10, £8 concessions, £5 students, children.
The Spirit of Christmas, hoping to repeat the success of last year’s event, Hallam Choral Society and its music director Peter Taylor join forces with Oughtibridge Brass Band and the choirs of Marcliffe and St Marie’s Primary schools to perform traditional carols, including a couple local ones, Stannington and Oughtibridge, seasonal songs, and the popular movie Frozen gets a look in. High Storrs School, Saturday, 4pm – £10, £7, free under 16s 0114 240 0965.
Christmas Extravaganza, third year of the annual Noël spectacular featuring the Choirs of St John’s Church at Ranmoor this year in the company of the City of Sheffield Brass Band and designated as a fundraising event for a German tour in July 2015 by the choirs. Festive music for all the family guaranteed from the band, boy choristers, girl choristers, choral scholars, songmen and Consort singers of St John’s where the ‘extravaganza’ takes place, Saturday, 7pm – £10, under 18s free.
Christmas Baroque by Candlelight, from London Concertante, formed in 1991 and now reckoned as one of the finest chamber ensembles in the country. Among its regular activity is presenting 12 concerts a year at St Martin-in-the-Fields and on offer here is Corelli – Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 4, not quite as well known as No 8 (Christmas Concerto), but it makes a joyous noise; Handel – Let the Bright Seraphim (Samson) and, from Messiah, How Beautiful are the Feet, He Shall Feed His Flock, If God Be for Us and Rejoice Greatly; Vivaldi – Winter from The Four Seasons; Albinoni – Trumpet Concerto Op 7 No 3, the first of four oboe concertos in Op 7 (another four are for two oboes), actually, though a trumpet often heard playing it, and Bach – Cantata No 51: Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen. Versatile French soprano Elise Lefay seems ideally equipped for the Handel and Bach items, Chris Evans is the trumpet soloist and the guest director is Sulki Yu, a South Korean violinist starting to make a name for herself. Sheffield Cathedral, Saturday, 7.30pm – £16, £18, £22, £25.
Deo Gratias! the title of a work (Thanks be to God) by the contemporary Estonian composer Urmas Sisask serves as the title for this year’s Christmas concert from the Abbeydale Singers and conductor Kevin Haighton, just back from a successful tour to Dublin, and performed by them along with pieces by Praetorius – A Great and Mighty Wonder; Biebel – Ave Maria; Andrew Carter – Chanticleer Carol; Niles – I Wonder as I Wander; Havelock Nelson – For Snow; Poulenc – La Blanche Neige; David Willcocks – Birthday Carol; four John Rutter pieces – Jesus Child, Wexford Carol (arrangement), Nativity Carol, Donkey Carol; Katherine K Davis – Carol of the Drum (Little Drummer Boy); Perry – Calypso Carol; plus the Zither Carol (arr Malcolm Sargent) and Gaudete (arr Brian Kay). George Parsons provides any keyboard accompaniment and partners CSYO cellist Elliott Bailey in the first movement of Elgar’s Cello Concerto. St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, Saturday, 7.30pm – £10, £8 concessions, £6 students, includes seasonal interval refreshments.
St Luke’s Hospice Carol Service, Sheffield Cathedral, Sunday, 2pm.
Sheffield University Symphony Orchestra, offer non-festive fare, unless a new work by Alex Gowan-Webster is so inclined (but unlikely), in the form of music by John Adams – The Chairman Dances; Alexandra Pakhumutova – her often lushly orchestrated Trumpet Concerto; and Beethoven – Symphony No 3, the Eroica. George Nicholson and Dominic Hartley share conducting duties and the trumpet soloist is Emma Dowson, at Firth Hall, Western Bank, Sunday, 7.30pm – £10, £7 concessions, £4 students, under 26.
Mary Dullea, the Department of Music’s director of performance and pianist performs items from her latest CD of music by Irish composers at the last Sheffield University Rush-Hour Concert in the present series, Firth Hall, Western Bank, Monday, 5.45pm – free – research talk discussing her collaborations and the works, same venue, 4pm.
The Snowman, much praised production, rated second in the top ten not-to-be-missed Christmas attractions in the UK by The Guardian a fortnight ago, which features a live orchestra synchronising Howard Blake’s score to a screening of the famous animated film. Not any old orchestra, but one made up of 25 top flight players from the Hallé, BBC Phil, Royal Liverpool Phil, Northern Chamber and leading freelance musicians which is conducted by the Hallé’s bass clarinet player Steven Magee. Declan Ryder, an 11-year-old pupil at Birkdale School, sings that song and starts proceedings with a rendering of Once in Royal David’s City, after which will be five movements from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and a Christmas guide to the more unusual instruments in the orchestra: celeste, cor anglais, bass clarinet, before the main event. Octagon Centre, Western Bank (across the road from Firth Hall), Monday, 7pm – £13, £9 children, £40 family ticket www.sivtickets.com or City Hall or Crucible box offices. See ‘The Snowman’ under FEATURES.
Come and Sing Messiah, annual invitation from the Sheffield Bach Choir to join them in a performance of Handel’s oratorio, this year conducted by the talented Mark McCombs, but with Simon Lindley not too far away fulfilling his day job playing the organ. The soloists are students at Sheffield University, probably members of Mark’s highly accomplished University Chamber Choir, and scores will be available for hire (£1) if you want one. Dore Parish Church, Monday, 7.30pm – £10, includes seasonal refreshments.
Community Carols, a great family evening promised singing all your favourite carols, including Sheffield carols and other Christmas songs with live band and refreshments. Christmas gifts on sale, too, at St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church, S11 8YL Tuesday, 6pm-9pm – £5, free under 12s Further information and advance tickets 0114 267 8289, or on the door.
SUOTC Carol Service, Sheffield University Officers Training Corps, Sheffield Cathedral, Tuesday, 7pm.
Escafeld Chorale, having presented it ten days earlier at Wentworth, the choir’s Sheffield outing with its annual Christmas concert of music, readings and festive refreshments, includes the Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Vaughan Williams, a 1912 work built round three English folk carols: The truth sent from above, Come all you worthy gentlemen and On Christmas night all Christians sing (otherwise known as the Sussex Carol). Escafeld’s associate soloist this season Jak Laight is the baritone in it, George Parsons provides the organ and possibly piano accompaniments, Ian Roberts is the conductor and proceeds from the concert are in aid of the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind. Ecclesall Parish Church, Tuesday, 7.30pm – £10, £8 concessions, £4 students, includes seasonal refreshments.
From Darkness to Light, speaking of Mark McCombs and his University Chamber Choir here they are with what has become an annual event at a venue they must know quite well by now, an Advent and Christmas concert featuring music by Herbert Howells, John Tavener, Gabriel Jackson and Morten Lauridsen among others. St Marie’s Cathedral, Norfolk Row, Wednesday (December 17), 7.30pm – £12, £8 concessions, £6 students, free under 16s, available online at www.stmariecathedral.org, over the counter at the City Hall box office, or on the door.
Sheffield University Lunchtime Concert, given by student chamber ensembles, Firth Hall, Western Bank, Thursday (December 18), 1.10pm – free, donations welcome.
‘SpiteWinter’, hugely popular alternative Christmas concert from Graham Pratt’s Sheffield Folk Chorale with the usual mix of SATB winter songs and carols from around the world with emphasis on less well-known material and the traditional re-worked. On twice, at Ecclesall Parish Church, S11 7PQ, Wednesday (December 17), 7.30pm – £6; Sheffield Cathedral, Thursday (December 18), 7.30pm – £8 Very few tickets left, especially for the Cathedral outing, 07805 642536 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Candlelight Carols, the annual Nine Lessons and Carols from the Sheffield Chorale with congregational carols. Choir items are by Philip Ledger – Adam lay ybounden and Still, still, still; Andrew Carter – Angelus ad virginem and I wonder as I wander; John Rutter – There is a flower; William Mathias – Ad majorem Deo Gloriam; Grayston Ives – Sweet was the song; Alan Bullard – Follow the star; John Ireland – The holy boy; and Stephen Cleobury – Joys 7. Neil Taylor is the conductor and Ian Roberts the organist at St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Thursday (December 18), 7.30pm – free, retiring collection for the Sheffield Carers Centre.
Sheffield Oratorio Chorus, annual carol concert from the chorus and its music director Alan Eost, a mix of carols old and new, readings and audience participation. A new venue this year, the Horizon Methodist Church on Ecclesall Road, S11 6PR, Thursday (December 18), 7.30pm – £10, £8, £5 students, under 16s, Available on the door from 7.00pm or from the Blue Moon Cafe (next to the Cathedral).
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, if Wagner might not suggest himself as a composer for the festive season to some people it can only mean they do not know The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, which is ideal in many ways with its hilarious second act and a marvellously uplifting conclusion. Here it is in all its glory in Otto Schenk’s traditional staging and conducted by James Levine at the last live relay of 2014 from the New York Metropolitan. The pivotal role of Hans Sachs is taken by German baritone Michael Volle, although South African tenor Johan Botha appears to be getting star-billing as Walther, at Cineworld Sheffield, Saturday, 5pm (running time, six hours, including two intervals) – £19.30, £15.50 concessions.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, live relay from the Royal Opera House of the revival of the Royal Ballet’s raved about staging of the ballet based on Lewis Carroll’s classic tale created and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon with Joby Talbot’s “superlative, playful and universally acclaimed music” underpinning it. Tuesday, 7.15pm, at Cineworld Sheffield – £19.30, £15.50 concessions; Vue, Meadowhall – £15, £12.50 concessions (encore, recorded repeat, December 28, 2pm – £12.50, £10); Odeon, Arundel Gate – £13, £11 concessions (encore, recorded repeat, December 28, 2pm).
For details of Choral Evensong at Sheffield Cathedral and St John’s Church, Ranmoor, and music at daytime services, please see the respective websites of both in the ‘Who’s Doing It’ section of Classical Sheffield.