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Jackdaws celebrate ‘Christmas by Candlelight’

Jackdaws ‘Christmas by Candlelight’ has fast become a firm favourite in the festive calendar. 

Once again there is a feast of musical delights in store for the annual concert which takes place in the beautiful village Church of St Mary Magdalene at Great Elm, near Frome on Friday 19th December from 6.30pm.

The church will be dressed for Christmas and glowing with candlelight, providing a perfect setting for an evening of wonderful music.  The concert will feature performances by many members of the Jackdaws family, brought together in this joyful seasonal celebration.

Jackdaws’ artistic director, Saffron van Zwanenberg, will be performing a selection of well-loved operatic arias.  Saffron studied at the Royal College of Music and leads a busy life as a performer and opera director, too.  She will perform a selection of operatic arias; her accompanist will be David Price.

Jackdaws Songbirds Community Choir enjoy singing a wide range of songs from around the world and across the centuries. For this performance they will be singing two American Spiritual Christmas folk songs, arranged by choir leader Caroline Radcliffe; ‘Rise up Shepherd and Follow’ and ‘O Mary and the baby, sweet lamb’.

Members of Jack’s Music Club have been working on a piece to perform for the concert.  This group of young people from the local area meet at Jackdaws to learn and perform together every Friday evening during term time, inspired and directed by a different visiting tutor each week.  They will perform arrangements of two pieces based on music by Schubert and Yann Tiersen.

Pianist Joshua Bishop will play a seasonal piece by French composer Jacques Ibert, ‘Noël en Picardie’. Ibert served in the First World War and was inspired to compose the piece in 1914 about a soldier in the trenches at Christmas.  Joshua will also perform some arrangements of songs by Gershwin.

Join in with traditional Christmas carols, to help get you in the festive mood, as the programme also includes some favourites for all to sing, including: ‘Once in Royal David’s City, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing’.  Traditional winter refreshments of hot mulled wine and mince pies will be served in the interval.

Last year’s concert was a sell-out, so book early to be sure not to miss out on this festive musical treat!  Tickets cost £10 in advance, £12 on the door (subject to availability), and are available from Jackdaws on 01373 812383 or email or purchase online at