MUSIC of the gloriously choral kind will ring out this weekend as some of the region's exceptional ensembles spread lots of seasonal sparkle.

Ambleside and District Choral Society stages its Christmas concert on Saturday, December 14 (7.30pm) at Ambleside Parish Church.

The choir will sing one of Puccini’s early works, Messa di Gloria, written when the celebrated composer was only 18 years of age as his graduation exercise when he studied at the Institute Musicale near Lucca. It is a remarkable work full of colour, vitality and musical surprises.

The concert will also feature Bizet’s, The Pearl Singers sung by the two soloists. An opera in three acts and first performed in Paris in 1862, the Pearl Singers tells the story of how two men’s vow of eternal friendship is threatened by their love of the same woman.

A number of Christmas carols for both choir and congregation will also feature.

Soloists will be baritone, Jonathan Millican, a local choral musician well known across the north of England who is senior lecturer in singing and community liaison at the University of Cumbria

For tenor, Christopher Steele, Saturday will be his first performance with Ambleside Choral Society. Christopher undertook postgraduate studies in Opera at the Royal College of Music and National Opera Studio. He then performed as principal artist in small roles across a range of operas and leading lyric roles for many national and European touring companies. Now based in Lancaster, Christopher teaches voice at Sedbergh School and Lancaster Royal Grammar School and is a vocal consultant for Lancaster Priory. He performs regularly in oratorio and enjoys giving recitals of classical art sort with pianist Peter Noke.

Tickets at the door.

Carver Uniting Church, Windermere, is the setting for Levens Choir's festive performance on Sunday, December 15 (7.30pm).

Starry Music will be a mixture of old and new. Along with some traditional Christmas carols the first half will feature Antonio Lotti’s Missa Sancti Christophori. Lotti (1667-1740) is known to choral singers for the wonderful eight-part setting of the Crucifixus. The complete setting of the mass from which it comes is a substantial and magnificent baroque masterpiece. With a string ensemble and continuo accompaniment led by Pam Redman, and soprano solo by Keldwyth Award winner Rebecca Chandler, it's a joyful, lively work which deserves to be better known.

After the interval, the strings will play Arnold Bax’s lovely Lyrical Interlude, followed by choir carols, including a brand new one composed by Bob Duffield, a member of the tenor section. The choir, with soloists Rebecca Chandler and Edwin Reynolds, go on to perform Gerald Finzi's exquisite In Terra Pax, telling the Christmas story from the shepherds' point of view. His piece was inspired by a winter night visit to a hilltop church in Gloucestershire.

Tickets are available from Windermere Information and choir members. Further information telephone 01539-730590 or go online at

And so to Clive Walkley's Pro Nobis Singers who will perform the final concert of their terrific 50th anniversary season at St Mark's Church, Natland, on Sunday (7.30pm). The programme follows the established pattern of Christmas music and readings, and this time around includes three carols by local composers and a lively carol by Dobrinka Tabakova especially written for BBC Music Magazine. The choir is joined by organist, Ian Pattinson, and Jonathan Millican as bass soloist in Vaughan William's Fantasia on Christmas Carols.

Admission is by programme on sale at the Tourist Information Office, Finkle Street, Kendal, or can be reserved by telephone on 01539-723482.

Also, Eversley Choir is back in the spotlight with its O Magnum Mysterium concert at St Thomas' Church, Milnthorpe, on Monday, December 16 (7.30pm).

Included will be Christmas carols - particularly those about animals - poems and readings.

Tickets are available at the door, from choir members or at

Elsewhere, on Sunday, Yule Sing Hoad is fantastic opportunity to sing festive winter songs inside the Sir John Barrow Monument on Hoad Hill (also affectionately know as Hoad and The Pepperpot) at Ulverston.

The singing will be led by community musician and songwriter, Kirsten Taylor of Song Birds. Yuletide songs will be sung, from fun and light hearted classics to traditional folk carols, both new and known. Yule Sing Hoad is a public event open to everyone that would like to be a part of this special, winter gathering.

Runs from 2pm-3pm.

Advance tickets are available from Paper Bunny on 54 Market St, Ulverston.