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Their choices list 6 carols, 5 pop songs, 4 pieces of classical music, one jazz number, and a piece of light classical. The best known are O Little Town of Bethlehem written by Ralph Vaughan Williams from an English folk ballad called ‘The Ploughboy's Dream’, Dreaming of a White Christmas sung by Bing Crosby, and In the Bleak Midwinter, words by English poet Christina Rossetti.
Cambridgeshire Music is the county music service and hub, making music happen all across the county for young people – both in and out of school. The team organises thousands of music lessons, the country orchestras, choirs and bands, as well as providing music therapy for all ages. All genres are covered - jazz, rock, pop, world music, classical, opera and folk.
The staff at Cambridgeshire Music work with music all through the year. All have musical backgrounds, with experience of different areas of the music industry including teaching, playing and management. But week in, week out they are either organising or leading musical lessons, choirs, bands and workshops.
Denise Thompson, Business Support Officer, has particularly enjoyed the experience of choosing her tune: “I think this is an exercise everyone should do at this time of year. It really helps you focus and get everything in perspective.”
The team has the list playing in their office and foyer in Huntingdon through the day. “It’s really lifted the mood listening to lovely pieces of music all day, and it adds depth to the experience knowing each tune has a special meaning for someone in our team,” said Head of Service Matthew Gunn.
Matthew’s own choice was In the Bleak Midwinter (Harold Darke version) “as it was my mother’s favourite carol”. Head of Business Development, Julia Ient chose Calypso Carol “because it’s fun to accompany on the piano”. Head of Instrumental Studies, David Southern chose White Christmas, particularly the big band versions, as “it epitomises everybody’s dream of waking up to a blanket of snow on the day itself”. Music Development Manager, Ross Wilson’s choice was What If by Kate Winslet: “One of the first songs I learnt to play on the piano, and accompanies one of my favourite books A Christmas Carol”. While Instrumental Tutor Peter Noble chose Balulalow from Britten's Ceremony of Carols as he “first heard it at a Christmas concert at university in the middle of a snowstorm – and it turned out to be a magical evening”.
Most recently Cambridgeshire Music organised the ‘Sing For Your School’ project, an ambitious project which has sparked over 30 schools across the country to compose and perform a song. The final for the best song will be in the Corn Exchange in early March.
Here’s the full list Cambridgeshire Music staff Christmas music list:
Mark Aldous: anything with sleigh bells
Helen Allen: O Little Town of Bethlehem – always been my favourite carol
Anne Atkinson: Star Carol, John Rutter
Michelle Brace: It's a Holiday Soul Party, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (favourite track: Ain't No Chimneys In The Projects)
Alex Bowen: All I Want For Christmas Is You, Mariah Carey
Dan Brinsdon: Boars Head Carol
Matthew Gunn: In the Bleak Midwinter (Harold Darke version) as it was my mother’s favourite carol. Also Healey-Hutchinson’s Carol Symphony
Lin Hetherington: Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Vaughan Williams
Julia Ient: Calypso Carol, because it’s fun to accompany on the piano
Peter Noble: Balulalow from Britten's Ceremony of Carols. I first heard it at a Christmas concert at university in the middle of a snowstorm – a magical evening
Charlotte Sankey: Zither Carol – I just love the simple beauty of the chorus
David Southern: White Christmas, particularly the big band versions. It epitomises everybody’s dream of waking up to a blanket of snow on the day itself
Denise Thompson: No Wind at the Window a John Bell song from Innkeepers and Light Sleepers. It is magical.
Ross Wilson: What If by Kate Winslet; one of the first songs I learnt to play on the piano, and accompanies one of my favourite books A Christmas Carol.
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2016
The staff at the county music service and hub, Cambridgeshire Music, have nominated their favourite Christmas music, and uploaded them into a special play list on Spotify (profile: cambsmusic), accessible to all.