The True St. Nicolas

St. Nicolas Church Pevensey 11 June 2016

This concert featured the world première performance of an especially composed six part Cantata’ – ‘The True St Nicolas’, to celebrate the 800th anniversary of St Nicolas Church, Pevensey. The piece was composed for sixty combined voices of Hailsham Choral Society, celebrating its own 55th anniversary, and children from Pevensey and Westham School.

Pevensey & Westham School Choir

The exciting new cantata from established Sussex based professional composers Ruth Kenward and Martin Neill, ‘The True Saint Nicolas’ had its first performance at Saint Nicolas Church, Pevensey, on Saturday June 11t . Appropriately it has been written for children to sing with adults. Here for the first ever performance it was children from Pevensey & Westham Primary School with members of Hailsham Choral Society.

The school choir was especially formed for this performance – the first choir at the school in twenty-five years. They sang wonderfully with clear diction and confidently, with tuneful expression throughout. It was an outstanding performance by the choir of eight to eleven year-olds under the baton of Josick Kotz. The balance between the adult and children’s voices was perfect in the excellent acoustics for which St. Nicolas church is renowned.

The 20-minute piece which followed a spirited and vibrant performance of Haydn’s ‘St. Nicolas Mass’ (Missa Sancti Nicolai – Mass no. 6 in G Major) by the Hailsham Choral Society opened with the children asking the adults to tell them the story of the real ‘Santa Claus’. They are led on a journey through a series of miraculous events attributed to Saint Nicolas, some of them more fictitious-sounding than others! The character of the man himself is revealed through the stories told and, by the end, the children recognise the link between the generous nature of both Father Christmas and the true Saint Nicolas. Matthew Johns