December is a time of year when many of us, religious or otherwise, enjoy listening to the familiar melodies of Christmas music, carols and songs. Every year in Penang we are lucky enough to have a great line up of concerts, and 2019 is no exception.
Always a great favourite is the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, at St George’s Church on Lebuh Farquhar. It is a classic traditional Christmas church service, with plenty of singing, and usually attracts several hundred attendees. This year it will again feature the KL choral group, Cantus Musicus, as well as St. George’s Church’s own choir. It will take place on Sunday 15th December at 6pm, and admission is free of charge although donations to the church are always welcome. It is recommended to arrive early to get a good pew (doors open at 4.30pm). Contact Jason on 016 4159544 for more details.
On the same evening, Serve With Love 3, is a fund-raising concert organised by Adventist Community Services. It includes performances by Musica Sinfonietta, the Messenger Choir, and others, featuring a selection of Christmas and other music and songs. It takes place at the Berjaya Penang Hotel at Midlands 1-Stop on Burma Road, beginning at 7.30pm. Dinner will be served, and the price is RM 150 per ticket (all in a good cause). Contact 012 429 1165 to purchase.
That same evening, the Penang Symphony Orchestra is also presenting a Cinematic Concert, at the Dewan Sri Pinang, beginning at 8.15pm. It is not a Christmas Concert, but a concert of movie soundtracks, many of which, like Beauty and the Beast and the Sound of Music, are Christmas favourites, so that’s why I am including it here! Tickets cost RM 30 and RM 50, and can be purchased from Woon Violin Collection (04-227-7726) on Chow Thye Road, or Bentley Music, Gurney Paragon 5th floor. For more information, check the PSO’s facebook page.
The following weekend, on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st, at the new earlier time of 8pm, is the annual Family Christmas Concert at penangpac by the Actors Studio Chorus and Orchestra. Around 60 singers, accompanied by 25 members of the orchestra, invite the audience to join in as they perform Christmas carols old and new. Song sheets are provided to the audience for singing along, and Santa will make an appearance to entrance the kids. New carols this year include the uplifting “Torches” and the tear-jerker “See Amid the Winters Snow”. Old favourites include “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Jingle Bells”. Tickets cost RM 40 (RM 30 for concessions) and are available at the penangpac box office and online here. It is always a sell-out so don’t leave it too long to book!
Other smaller events will take place around town too. Gurney Paragon is putting on a whole programme of Christmas music events, including Christmas carolling. The highlight will be on Sunday 22nd December at 8pm, with Christmas with the De Leon Jazz Experience. This very talented family group will entertain the crowds at Festive Square, with a combination of jazz and Christmas classics. The performance is free of charge to attend and you can read more about the band on their facebook page here.