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The Glenn Miller Orchestra – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Musical Director: Ray McVay Reviewer:  John Kennedy From the late 60s to early 70s any Christmas UK TV schedule would be meagre fare were it to miss another repeat of The Glenn Miller Story (1954, Dir. Anthony Mann). Jimmy Stewart's signature voice of considered throaty hesitation on the telephone to his wife remains cinematic gold and was often parodied with ...

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Orchestra of Opera North: Viennese Whirl – Huddersfield Town Hall

Conductor: Aleksandar Markovic Soloists: Ellie Laugharne (soprano) & Heather Lowe (mezzo soprano) Reviewer: Ron Simpson As with Opera North’s Christmas Concert at Dewsbury, the company’s Viennese Whirl took a popular form and tweaked it, giving the less familiar material an airing and slipping in the occasional more challenging piece before serving up helpings of Sachertorte as 9:30 pm approached. Vienna-style New ...

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The Sound of Musicals – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Richard Balcombe Reviewer:  Selwyn Knight The interregnum between Christmas and New Year. Chocolate overload. How to return to some semblance of normality and refresh one’s artistic palate? This is one question that The Sound of Musicals sets out to answer. There’s no mention of chestnuts, snow or miraculous births, but plenty of memories from famous musicals. The programme includes ...

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ABBA Classics – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Pete Harrison Reviewer:  James Garrington It’s hard to believe that it’s now very nearly 35 years since ABBA broke up. Yet over the relatively brief period that they were performing together their songs and musical style struck a chord with fans around the world, and continue to reach new audiences each day. Formed in 1972, they shot to worldwide ...

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Katherine Jenkins Celebration – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Katherine Jenkins

Conductor: Anthony Inglis Reviewer:  James Garrington Katherine Jenkins must surely be one of Britain’s favourite crossover artists. Since she released her debut album in 2004 she has regularly been at the top of the album charts, and has sung to packed out concert halls around the world – and this Christmas, Birmingham’s Symphony Hall is no exception. This concert has ...

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Roy Wood’s Rockmas – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewer: Carol Lovatt Roy Wood is very much on home turf at the Symphony Hall and the fact it was packed to full capacity clearly emphasises just how much this son of Birmingham is still very much appreciated and admired.  With a history spanning over five decades, Roy Wood’s name will be forever associated with the classic of the festive ...

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Winter Wonderland – Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Musical Director: David Le Page Reviewer: Ron Simpson There are many different types of Christmas celebration concert and Winter Wonderland was the sort that provides more breadth than depth, 15 named items in a programme of some 70 minutes, very accomplished playing in a variety of styles. It’s no wonder that, in the musicians’ biographies, one commented that since she ...

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Christmas with Clare Teal – Town Hall, Birmingham

Clare Teal

Reviewer: James Garrington Christmas music over the last couple of decades seems to be dominated by either Slade and Wizzard, or Mariah Carey and The Pogues. If you want something a bit different, though, you could try Christmas with Clare Teal for an evening of jazzy big band music with a Christmas flavour. Joining Teal is Gary Williams, a well-known ...

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