Christmas will not be cancelled at St Martin-in-the-Fields this year as it begins pre-recording five carol concerts to make sure Christmas cheer is still felt by those who will miss visiting in person. St Martin-in-the-Fields will still be opening its doors to audiences in London as it presents five socially distanced carol concerts during Advent.
The team has already pre-recorded two carol services; one is “A Gospel Carol Service,” recorded in the historic Crypt at St Martin’s, with readings from Sue Perkins and performances from Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir. The other is a traditional Christmas celebration of carols and readings from the church. With performances from St Martin’s Voices, an ensemble of professional young freelance singers, the programme features much-loved carols, including Silent night, In the bleak midwinter and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Alongside the pre-recorded carol services, St Martin-in-the-Fields will be presenting five concerts for socially distanced audiences at the church, including A Christmas Celebration with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields on Friday 18th December.
Since September, St Martin’s has been presenting two concert a fortnight to 100 visitors with social distancing measures in place. These concerts form the re:connect series in partnership with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, which has been ongoing since the 15th September, with the next live performance on Saturday 10th October.
St Martin-in-the-Fields wants to make sure this Christmas is full of celebration and joy after a year of uncertainty and hardships, they are pre-recording concerts now to ensure the music is ready to be shared. Concerts will be available to buy online from mid-October, with a release date of 1st December, so audiences can watch them across the festive season with their families. Each purchase of these pre-recorded, festive carol concerts will help St Martin’s to continue to present concerts and pay freelance musicians, while the number of attendees must be so much lower than usual.
Online Carol Concerts will be available to buy ahead from Monday 19th October : www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org
Revd Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, said:
“When does Christmas begin? For many people, coming to a carol concert or service at St Martin-in-the-Fields with family or friends is precisely when Christmas begins. Many people can’t come to us this year. So we’re planning to come to them – making it possible for people to share our music and message of hope this Christmas wherever they are listening.”
Dr Andrew Earis, Director of Music, St Martin-in-the-Fields, commented:
“We are currently able to welcome just 100 people a week to hear live music at St Martin-in-the-Fields, but in these challenging circumstances we are planning ahead to ensure we can provide much-loved music for people to enjoy at home this Christmas. We hope our audiences around the world will welcome the chance to listen to our talented singers.”
And Jess Haig, a member of St Martin’s Voices said:
“Christmas is an incredibly busy time for freelance performers, and in more normal times I wouldn’t be going a day in December without singing in some sort of festive concert, carol service or Christmas event. In these worrying times, however, the diary unfortunately looks a lot emptier than usual. I am so grateful to St Martin’s for making it possible for us to continue singing together (in a safe environment) and share the festive cheer through their virtual concert series.”