'Hallelujah!' Members of TRBC sing their hearts out in the Basilika St Aposteln, Cologne, in December 2011

'Hallelujah!' Members of TRBC sing their hearts out in the Basilika St Aposteln, Cologne, in December 2011

6–10 December 2011

THE SCRATCH® CHRISTMAS IN COLOGNE

Kölner Domkirche, Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom, and Basilika St Aposteln

Handel: Excerpts from Messiah
Holst: Christmas Day
Jackman: arrangements of Christmas carols

Our December trip to visit the Christmas markets in Cologne, including as much singing as could reasonably be fitted in around the shopping, was a resounding success. The absence of snow may have reduced the photo opportunities but was in all other respects a bonus, and even the forecast rain made only brief appearances.

Jeremy Jackman, musically in charge and making his first overseas trip for TRBC, proved ‘a revelation and a joy to sing with’. As ever it was rather a motley crowd of singers which sat down to rehearse on Wednesday morning, but the standing ovation we received from a capacity audience on Friday evening testified to the transformation wrought by Jeremy over the previous two days. Professional musical back-up well beyond the call of duty was provided by Andrew Parnell on whatever keyboard instrument was available at the time, and soprano Ruth Jenkins delighted everyone with her beautiful and heartfelt singing. We also benefited from the solid support of Cologne Brass (opens in a new window), who seemed to enjoy Jeremy’s sense of humour!

There were other revelations. Our visit to the Cologne Chocolate Museum (new window) opened up new and exciting ways of serving wine with nibbles of esoteric chocolate (bring on the white chocolate with licorice and banish the crisps and canapes!); staff from both Specialised Travel and Concerts from Scratch demonstrated during the Thursday evening river-boat feast that they also can sing when required; and new light was shed (in song, of course) on the conversation between Mary and the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation.

Proceeds from the concert were in excess of 2,000 euros, and more than 400 euros were collected as we sang for an hour in the Weihnachtsmarkt adjacent to the Dom. So a sum very close to 2,500 euros was handed over to the Basilka St Aposteln for the Essensausgabe (new window), their programme of work with the homeless and destitute in Cologne. A wonderful bonus to a very memorable trip.

Learn more about our visit to Cologne by clicking on the links below:

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