We are now knee-deep into the Advent period and my diary is continuing to fill up with various events, although I have been careful to make sure that some days have been left free for rest, recuperation and maybe even a little bit of fun. The miles up and down the A303 all begin to add up, however, so I am remembering in this first proper Advent since you-know-what that snatching a quick doze here and there is essential to keeping the personal motor running and ensuring that I am on top form for concerts ,and also awake enough to enjoy my time off.

First off, though, my setting of O Nata Lux received its first performance at the end of November, by the University of London Church Choir, conducted by Sally Martin-Brown, which marked a very positive start to the season. I, meanwhile, found myself zipping around London to get from one service to the next, all while making sure that I kept as up to date as possible with everything that needed organising.

After back to back carol services on Thursday and Friday at the start of the month I was back in Somerset for a RetroChic gig in Midsomer Norton on the Saturday, which finished at midnight, at which point I leapt into the car and drove back up to London once more although, once I got there, I found that our house guest had locked me out of the burrow. Thankfully my desperate efforts to get in without waking him up woke him up, although the whole process would have been made much more smooth if WhatsApp allowed you to merge backups. Long story.

Anyway, after just under four hours of sleep I got back into the car for a day running the music at Mabbots, which included a nativity play, some luscious Gibbons (This Is The Record Of John, naturally) and cantoring in the evening, while in the gaps between everything I caught up with yet more admin, grabbed a quick snooze, and played the world’s worst ever game of Forbidden Island, which was a very short story indeed.

In the week just gone I had another first performance, of my arrangement of the Slovenian carol Kai se vam zdi, by Parliament Choir at their Westminster Christmas concert, and then another weekend of running around, which included a concert in Castle Cary (a fifteen minute commute for once) and then Sunday in London with a morning service and afternoon Messiah, while on Monday I flitted back and forth between church and coffee shop as I covered a rehearsal and carol service for a prep school. Things have calmed down a little towards the middle of the week, however, and sitting there on Saturday afternoon is the first performance of my setting of Adam Lay Ybounden at St. George’s Church, Jesmond, by The Singers, while on Sunday my arrangement of The Angel Gabriel and Gabriel, That Angel Bright will be heard at Hampstead, after which we will be on the final approach to Christmas and maybe a break from all the coffee shops.  Maybe.

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