I am hoping that 2022 will be far better for all of us than 2021. Even the notion of thinking back to the start of last year brings me down to the Slough of Despond, those months when any work at all was like a scrap of food to a starving persion, January, February, March, April and onwards all passing by in bleakness and quiet. It is hard to believe now that I clutched at some copywriting work at one point, paying just about minimum wage, to give myself some wiggle room – it all seems like another world.

WIth a bit of luck the worst is behind us, although we should never forget that many parts of the rest of the globe are still in a parlous state, and at least from September the world and, more importantly for me, the musical world sprang back to life with enthusiasm. Concerts, broadcasts, performances, premières – it was astonishing how the very best of times was so hot on the heels of the very worst of times.

It means that, for all the uncertainty that is around at the moment, I head into 2022 in better spirits than at this time last year, when I was calling my London churches to cancel work in order to avoid travelling into the plague pit that was the capital. Now, instead, we may just be able to carry on more or less as normal, although I have no doubt that it will be a bumpy ride at least until the summer and probably to the end of the year.

December was good for my music, though. There were the performances at the Parliament Choir Christmas concert, repeated shortly thereafter by Classic FM, a couple of outings for my carols in America, plus the second performance of the, ahem, award-winning Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis on Bb by the choir of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork. As they say, the first performance is the easy one, but getting the second is the tricky bit, so I was particularly delighted to hear of this.

Most magical of all, though, was that I came out of my self-imposed Christmas retirement to play at Wells Cathedral on Christmas Eve. Their music department had been hit by Covid, the bat-signal went up and I was able to make the oh-so-difficult ten minute commute to help them out. I have to say that their choir sounds wondrous, and the anthem for the service was Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia On Christmas Carols, and as it echoed around the building I thought that, yes, this is what Christmas should sound like, never the silence of 2020. Maybe 2022 will sound as it should as well, so here’s to better things in the future and, lest I forget to say it again this year, thank you for coming along for the ride.