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Extreme Advent

One of this year’s extreme musical trends seems to be for Advent Calendars. Every morning, my email time begins with an ever expanding interval while I open the daily haul of electronic Advent windows. How did the senders find the time and expertise to do this, while being exclusively very busy people ?

There is every sort of musical calendar. Music teacher Helen Moffatt, whom I met at Blackthorns Primary School, Haywards Heath, teamed up with a brilliant former pupil, saxophonist Emma McPhilemy, in aid of Rare Dementia Support. Every day they perform a new Xmas tune. Day by day you notice that they pick up different instruments, and to arrange and record 24 (25?) of these in a row must have been a challenge. Frances Lynch and Herbie Clarke of Minerva Scientifica are longtime experts in online and electronic media, but their daily offerings are suave and varied. Frances modestly told me ‘we had made a lot of these videos and recordings already this year’, but nevertheless, what a feat.

A varied daily offering is the key, and that certainly fits Koorschool Delft’s calendar, in which I was honoured to appear on Day 1, standing under a holly tree in our local park, ruminating on guess-which-carol. From this humble beginning, the calendar has visited many august musicians, including (so far) Ton Koopman, Thomas Hampson, Emma Kirkby and Anne Sofie von Otter. Koorschool’s director, Petra Weijers has done an incredible thing in getting all this together (in aid of the Red Cross). Who does she have up her sleeve for 24 December? I’m addicted. Finally, as a break from music, I open Richard Stemp’s daily reveal from a very detailed Nativity painting. But which? If you sent me an email in December and are still waiting for a reply, this is why.





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