Ukrainian Influence For Wigton Choral Society Christmas Concert

Wigton Choral Society are preparing for the premiere of a new piece at their Christmas Concert this December.

Ian Wright, their musical director, has produced a choral arrangement of a traditional Ukrainian folk melody, which he has set to a poem by 18th century Wigton poet Ewan Clark (1734-1811).

Entitled Ode for Christmas Day, the poem begins “Hark! Celestial voices sing, This day is born the heav’nly king” and was first published in Clark’s Miscellaneous Poems of 1779.

Ewan himself lived at Standingstone, Wigton, and kept a schoolhouse there.

His father, the elder Wilfrid Clark, was Vicar of Wigton from 1763 to 1802, as was Ewan’s brother, the younger Wilfrid Clark, from 1802 to 1804.

The concert will take place in St Mary’s Church, Wigton, the building where both Wilfrids ministered and which Ewan would have known well.

The Ukrainian folk tune which Mr Wright has used is called Oh, What A Wonder! and is best known to Ukrainians in the arrangement by Vasyl Barvinsky published in 1912.

Pieces such as Jonathan Willcocks’ In excelsis, Carl Rutti’s Three Carols, and a larger-scale work – Cecilia McDowall’s Christus Natus Est’ – will also appear in the programme.

Another notable feature will be the performance of In Dulci Jubilo for double choir by 16th-century composer Michael Praetorius.

The choir will be accompanied by the Throstle Brass Quintet and organist David T Shingler.

The concert will take place on Saturday December 10 at 7.30pm in St Mary’s Church, Wigton.

Tickets are £13 in advance or £15 on the door and are available from Catherine Servanté: email cat@servantesystems.co.uk or call 016973 519 34.