Christmas carol services are a British import into France. The French have fewer Christmas songs and they don’t have a tradition of special carol services. However, it’s something they have enthusiastically embraced, even if they regard them as concerts rather than a participative event.
During our previous carol services, the French have sat there bemused while the Brits in the audience have stood up to belt out ‘O come, all ye faithful’ and ‘In the bleak midwinter.’ But this doesn’t stop them piling into the church to enjoy it all.
This year Choeur de Parisot is giving two carol services (I insist on calling them that; they aren’t concerts) on consecutive days:
- Saturday 20th December: in the church at Limogne-en-Quercy (Lot) at 16h00.
- Sunday 21st December: in the church at Parisot (Tarn-et-Garonne), also at 16h00.
Being French, our new conductor, Jérémy Costes, has not been brought up in the carol service tradition, either. But he has wholeheartedly got into the spirit of it and has introduced some Christmas songs that we haven’t sung in previous years (‘Deck the Hall’ and ‘Joy to the World’).
The programme includes a couple of solos from Handel’s Messiah. Also, the SF, who has a good baritone voice, is singing a solo along with another bass in ‘Douce Nuit’ (silent night). I was unable to get out of doing the same with some other sopranos in the descant version of ‘Joy to the World’ (bring ear plugs for that one).
It’s a lovely way to start the Christmas festivities and a means of bringing together communities of different nationalities. So if you’re in the area, venez nombreux.
Get there early, since it’s always packed. No tickets, but monetary contributions are gratefully received in aid of charity.
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