Show’s perfect timing

BBC Radio 3 breakfast show host  Petroc Trelawny, who is appearing at Sheffield City Hall
BBC Radio 3 breakfast show host Petroc Trelawny, who is appearing at Sheffield City Hall

Radio Three breakfast show host Petroc Trelawny is back at Sheffield City Hall for the second year running to present the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus Christmas concert.

Petroc is one of the best-known voices on BBC Radio Three, where he presents the daily Breakfast programme.

He also introduces the BBC Proms on radio and television and presents the Vienna New Year’s Day Concert as well as the BBC4 coverage of the Cardiff Singer of the World.

Petroc said: “It’s become a real tradition in Sheffield with the Philharmonic Chorus, who are a fantastic part of Sheffield’s musical heritage and many of its important moments.

“They spend the year doing big important pieces and masses and great choral works, so this is a chance to let them sing all this Christmas music absolutely fantastically.

“What’s really exciting about this is that they have Black Dyke Band, one of the best in the country, with Nicholas Childs conducting.

“They have really entered into the spirit of things and are going to make the City Hall sound absolutely wonderful.”

Petroc added: “We expect you, if you want to, to sing along with four of five numbers.

“It’s always a difficult thing, suggesting people might want to stand as 
obviously you’ll be singing better if you’re standing up and put more gusto into it, but it’s a bit like church.”

Petroc said that most people get into the spirit of things, though.

As well as introducing the musical numbers, he will be reading Christmas poems and is busily choosing then.

For Petroc, it‘s the best weekend to really start enjoying Christmas music.

Although his breakfast show features a musical advent calendar, it mainly concentrates on Advent and winter music at the beginning of the month, because listeners have said they get fed up with hearing Christmas songs from mid-November everywhere.

“The timing of this concert is perfect and does mark the start of the holiday season, not the following weekend when everyone is tearing their hair out trying to get everything done. It’s the soft start to Christmas.”

He added: “One of the things I really love is this concert reflects the tradition of Sheffield carols. We were talking about doing the breakfast show from one of the city pubs.

“So many of those local musical traditions have been lost. “I come from Cornwall, which has its own Christmas carol traditions.

“They’re doing While Shepherds Watched this year in a brilliant Sheffield setting.

“I’m looking forward to the Sussex carol and then they’re doing this modern piece with just the choir.”

As well as traditional carols such as While Shepherds Watch and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Saturday’s concert will feature arrangements of Christmas favourites like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Do They Know It’s Christmas?, blending soaring voices and powerful brass.

Petroc said the contrasts between different types of music and pieces with just voices and then the band joining in should create a magical evening.

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