I am often asked, Why London at Christmas? This being my 5th year here in the last 6….I guess I know it is safe to say…”the most Christmas music of any city in the World at Christmas”…..and this includes the full spectrum of music, from the broadway musicals in the West End, to the most professional classic music at St Martin’s……to the unbelievable production programs at Royal Albert Hall….London has it all.
In addition to the music, and more on this to come….the lights decorating the City are the most dazzling, extensive, and creative of any city in the world. From the exotic street lighting decorations to the fabulous window decorations….nothing in the world compares. Having been in NYC a few years ago …. no comparison with London. And, along with the decorations, come the crowds….and they come from all over LONDON and England, but from all over the world….so you have big crowds everywhere. It is one of the busiest times in the year for LONDON.
The music is the big draw for me….and it has to do with the churches and Royal Albert Hall, which is the main music center for the country. It is our Kennedy Center in NYC, etc….or the Staples Center in LA….RAH has it all, and it has it all year round. Starting, though, in early December, RAH becomes the center for Christmas musicals, and music activing. It is a huge circular hall, so probably seats 10,000 visitors, and has been remodeled several times to make it acoustically near perfect. Even though you can sit in the “cheap seats”, which I do and like, every seat in the hall is a good seat. I sit up high in the back, as you can get a good perspective of the entire Hall and the music is clear and loud, when needed…and when the audience is singing, it is a sight to behold and to hear. Really, nothing like it in the world, in my opinion.
Then, there are the churches. From Westminster Abbey to St Paul’s Cathedral….there is some kind of church service or Christmas music service every day…and at some of the churches, twice a day. It is tradition….and for hundreds of years, the churches have been the foundation for music at Christmas. At some of the churches, like the Piccadilly Church a block from Piccadilly Circus….they have a daily hour long music offering at noon…for all of those that are in the area at the time. Each day at St PAUL’S, there is a music and prayer hour….and so it goes. This year we have 7 musicals scheduled in 6 days…a couple of years ago, 8 programs in 8 days…..and these will range from an organ concert at Westminster to a full blown musical production at RAH.
Then, there is West End, or the Broadway of LONDON. All of the major productions are running, so all of the attractions connected with the Theater are in full operation, which includes the Jazz Clubs, Rock music clubs, etc. it is just a vibrant time in the entire Covent Garden – Leicester Square area….literally the “Times Square” of London….but full of music.
So, London at Christmas…means Music at Christmas for me….and there is nothing better in the World if you like classical and concert music….in a marvelous Christmas celebration environment.
More to come…