The Ebor Singers wish you a merry Christmas…on Saturday. Here’s why…

Rachel Jerome: Harp soloist for The Ebor Singers’ concert on Saturday

MERRY Christmas from The Ebor Singers. In February? Yes, on Saturday, when the festive spirit will be breaking out at St Olave’s Church, Marygate, York.

Let the York choir’s director, Paul Gameson, explain. “When we were first able to perform together late last year, it was to prepare for our regular Christmas concert of Britten’s A Ceremony Of Carols for choir and harp, but amid choir illness and rising Covid-19 cases in York, the performance was cancelled.

“Nevertheless, we have chosen this piece for our return to singing in public, our first concert since March 2020. While Britten’s work is synonymous with Christmas, a closer look at the texts suggests a more medieval interpretation of the word ‘carol’.”

Derived from the Old French word carole, it refers to a round of dancers, singing and holding hands. “Carols were not limited to Christmas and were not necessarily religious!” says Paul. “Britten’s work traces the story of Jesus’s birth from the Annunciation through to the Nativity and early childhood.

“So, nestled as it is between Christmas and Lent, this February performance celebrates the joy of Christ’s birth while anticipating his Passion, with music by Chilcott, Stopford, Howells and Holst alongside Britten. As this is our first public concert for two years, a little festive joy feels much needed!”

The Ebor Singers will be joined by harpist Rachel Jerome for the 7.30pm concert, billed as “A Rose in the Middle of Winter”. Tickets (£12, concessions £10, under-16s free) are on sale at and on the door.

The present Government Covid-guidance will apply, but The Ebor Singers also suggest that audience members wear masks.