Hark back to Christmas – carols at the Royal Albert Hall

Christmas Carols

I’m back! In typical runawaykiwi fashion I spent my entire break full of the cold, but at least it gave me a chance to make some grand schemes for 2013. More on these schemes in posts to come, because this post is all about Christmas Eve.

I was lacking a bit of the Christmas spirit, it was my first Christmas out of New Zealand which meant a break from all those family traditions that I love. A normal Christmas Eve is spent eating good food (and overconsuming the champagne) with family – with a large part of the night spent on cracker jokes, YouTube clips and watching Love Actually. I got to join in through Skype this year, but for some reason the cracker jokes are a lot less funny when you are sober and on your way to work (damn that time difference).

So in stepped the sing-a-long carols at the Royal Albert Hall to breach the void. The hall was stunning, I had never been before but it was such an atmospheric venue – added to by the Mozart Festival Orchestra who were all in period costume.

The orchestra and choir would sing one beautiful carol, and the next one was our turn. The entire audience of the Royal Albert Hall standing up and singing at the top of their lungs. Yes we got most of the notes wrong, and some of the words had us bamboozled (those old carols just loved taking random syllables out of words to make them fit the melody). It was the spirit of everyone joined in song that was so Christmassy, uplifting and just plain amazing.

My highlight was during the Twelve Days of Christmas, which the choir was singing. When they were halfway through, the conductor simply turned round and faced the audience. Based on that alone the entire audience joined in for the ‘five gold rings’. Beautiful.

And thanks to the very charismatic conductor in full period costume, I still got my fill of atrociously good cracker jokes.

It was one of the most amazing experiences, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting London over Christmas.