Sweeter Music: Ten reasons why ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ is set to be a festive treat…

La Nova Singers in concert at St Ambrose Church. Photo by Alwyn Laddell.

La Nova Singers’ Candlelit Christmas Concert. Photo by Alwyn Ladell.

We’ve been making a list; checking it twice – and we’ve come up with at least ten reasons why our ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ concert at St Ambrose on 15 December 2018 is the musical stress relief you need this December.

1. ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ means ‘In sweet rejoicing’. The carol was written by a German mystic who allegedly heard real angels singing these words, and joined them in a heavenly dance. Our version, arranged by Howard Goodall, is just as joyous – but the dancing is entirely optional!

2. The warm glow of candlelight creates an atmosphere like no other. St Ambrose Church will be lit by hundreds of real candles: combined with beautiful acoustics, and delicate harmonies, you can expect some spine-tingling moments. Such as…

3. Rachel’s solo – Samuel Barber wrote ‘Slumber Song of the Madonna’ at age 14: it’s simple and yet jaw-droppingly gorgeous. A performance that deserves to be heard.

4. The Parry String Ensemble will be joining us once more, adding an extra layer of richness to our musical blend, and performing a Rossini Christmas medley. Delightful!

5. Sam Hanson, our accompanist for the evening, is a joy to work with and even more of a joy to hear. So much more than an accompanist, he enhances our singing with his expressive playing, on organ and piano.

6. ‘Mr Christmas’ himself – John Rutter’s ‘Dancing Day’ takes traditional carols and wraps them in layers of charming harmony. Apparently he’s the nation’s favourite living composer of carols – we can believe it!

7. ‘Tundra’, by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo, may not strictly be a Christmas song; but its musical evocation of a snowy winter landscape is a perfect addition to our seasonal repertoire. Classic FM describes it as ‘exquisitely beautiful’… and it is.

Photo by Benjamin Behre on Unsplash

Photo by Benjamin Behre on Unsplash

8. Mulled wine – the quintessential smell of Christmas, this will warm you from the inside out.

9. The finest mince pies – our dream team at the refreshments table, Lisa and Sally, have done meticulous research into which retailers stock the highest-rated festive treats. They serve only the best.

10. ‘White Christmas’, made famous by Bing Crosby, is a perennial favourite at this time of year. Our rendition of this Irving Berlin classic is warm and inviting, like a musical mug of hot cocoa by the fireside. Festive bliss!

Candlelit Christmas 2017. Photo by Alwyn Ladell.

Convinced yet? You can book tickets now via our online box office: https://www.ticketgun.com/events/la-nova-singers-present-in-dulci-jubilo-candlelit-christmas-concert

‘In Dulci Jubilo – a Candlelit Christmas Concert’ takes place at St Ambrose Church, Westbourne, Bournemouth on Saturday 15 December 2018 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12.50 in advance; £14 on the door. Under 10’s go free when accompanied by a responsible ticket-holding adult.


Law Nova Singers

lawsoc-longshot-rehearsalOn 9th December 2014, La Nova Singers were honoured to perform for The Law Society’s annual Christmas dinner, at their headquarters in Chancery Lane, London. Here are some photos from the rehearsal and performances…

lawsoc-closeup-rehearsal-2Here were are in rehearsal, while the waiting staff do what they do best… yes, that’s right, waiting… for us to finish, so they could get on with laying out the cutlery. (Sorry, guys).


Performing carols ‘a capella’ while the guests arrive…


After a delicious meal (including apple crumble and custard for desert, yum) there’s just time for a quick outfit change before going on stage again. We were joined by Matthew Fairman, our accompanist; Steve Howard, occasional flautist and professional law practitioner; and Rebecca Notherwood, official page turner!

lawsoc-longshot-performanceProcessing in to the room, singing ‘Ricevete’ from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, and bearing flowers…

lawsoc-performThe stage is surprisingly green!

lawsoc-rebecca-and-signThese are the kind of gigs we like. Great chandeliers, great food, great signage.

Our thanks go to Law Society president Andrew Caplen, and his wife Lindsay – one of our former members! – for inviting us to perform. It was a fantastic experience and we hope the audience enjoyed it as much as we did!

Harping On

La Nova Singers choir rehearsing at Highcliffe Castle, Christchurch

After we were named winners of Grassroots Giving funding, La Nova Singers were keen to start putting the money to good use. We were already planning our concert for December 2014 at Highcliffe Castle, and for the first time had decided to perform with a harpist. The fees for professional instrumentalists – such as the many wonderful pianists we have had to accompany us with over the years – are one of our biggest running costs; but we knew the addition of a harp would make this event something special. Winning £500 from Skipton meant we didn’t have to worry about covering our expenses if the concert didn’t sell out.

Our plan was to sing the Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten – this is a really intriguing cycle of Christmas music, written using old English, and with Britten’s characteristically interesting harmonies! The composer used to write a lot for children’s voices, and for choirs of boy trebles, who have roughly the same vocal range as our choir of adult women. Getting to grips with the complexity of the music was tricky (I imagine Britten must have known a lot of precociously talented children to have written something so difficult!) but our aim is always to achieve a professional standard, or as near as we can get.

We worked with harpist Katie Salomon, who is based in Wiltshire; and performed in Highcliffe Castle in Dorset – a fascinating building, more of a stately home than a castle, and cobbled together in the 19th century from imported bits of Medieval French masonry. It was once the home of Harry Selfridge, the famous founder of Selfridges department store. Highcliffe is a venue we love to perform at, since it’s local and gives the audience a wonderful setting in which to experience music. Holding concerts is a also a great way to raise funds towards the building’s ongoing restoration (we are particularly grateful for the under-floor heating in the Great Hall)!

Choir performing at Highcliffe Castle - La Nova Singers with harpist Katie Salomon

In the end, our concert sold out well in advance – a result we were thrilled with. We enjoyed performing to a full audience, and watching as Katie’s beautiful harp solo left them spellbound. It really did help to create a truly magical festive atmosphere. We’re looking forward now to working with other instrumentalists in the future, particularly for our next concert in March, where we’ll be singing two of the ‘big hitters’ of the choral repertoire – Vivaldi’s Gloria and Fauré’s Requiem…

Note: This post originally appeared on ProjectDirt.com – view here.


Christmas Eve at The Kings Arms, Christchurch - La Nova Singers classical vocal ensemble

On Christmas Eve, six of La Nova Singers entertained the guests and diners at The Kings Arms Hotel in Christchurch.  Situated in a rather more unusual performance setting, the bar,  they sang to a very warm and appreciative gathering.

Jingle Bells was a definite standout and was performed twice, probably because it involves audience participation…. somebody has to play the bells and there were no shortage of volunteers!!

Variety was the key to this evenings programme: from the well known carol Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; familiar – but with a different arrangement – Silent Night; to the lesser known Rocking Carol.  The set finished with a rousing We Wish You A Merry Christmas – rousing because our version finishes on a top B flat courtesy of Michelle Nova!

After working up an appetite from all that singing, four of us were booked in for a meal and would definitely recommend The Kings Restaurant as the food was delicious!!

– Soprano superstar Debbie Lloyd

The Kings Arms, Christchurch - La Nova Singers vocal ensemble


Christmas Concert in aid of the British Heart Foundation – Behind the Scenes

La Nova Singers at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Dorchester

An early concert tonight; 3pm in Dorchester, at a place we’ve performed in once before. This time – some three years later – the Church of St Mary the Virgin has some new staging with lovely plush carpeting.


Here we are in attack formation. Ready to attack… with song!


And here’s the view from the stage. This church has really lovely acoustics – in fact, quite a lot of our 2010 CD ‘DEBUT’ was recorded there. It is also replete with lovely Christmas tree, lights a-twinkle. I should mention that this concert featured that other festive favourite, the mince pie. Icing sugar didst fall like the snow. I may or may not have performed with crumbs on my chin…


These are just a few pics I managed to take during our rehearsal – hence the lack of posh frocks and serious bling. We may or may not have some video footage to post in future (and yes, I know I’m always promising video footage, I promise you it does exist! There are just a few technical issues that need to be worked out, i.e. getting the footage off the DVD and on to the blog)!

Meanwhile, you can read about the very good cause behind this concert in an article from the Dorset Echo. Holly Parkin, a health professional and mother of two from Dorchester, will be running the London Marathon in 2013 in aid of the British Heart Foundation and in memory of her cousin Jake. She organised this event and we wish her all the best with her fundraising!