DECEMBER is upon us and, aside from those channelling Scrooge, it is impossible not to think of Christmas with a degree of gleeful anticipation.

Music is embedded into the spirit of the festive season, and I don’t mean Slade and Mariah Carey. There are few aural experiences as heart-warming as a traditional carol concert and, happily, there are a range of such events taking place across Sussex in the next few weeks.

Below, we preview the pick of the carol and choral concerts providing Yuletide cheer – maybe even to those whose first impulse is to exclaim “bah humbug”.

Christmas at Brighton Dome

The Big Christmas Singalong

Tuesday, December 20, 7.30pm, £12

This concert is presented by The Choir With No Name, a company which organises singing events for those with experience of homelessness, mental health problems or drug and alcohol addiction. The members of the four strands of TCWNN – based in Birmingham, Liverpool and two in London – receive a hot meal after each weekly rehearsal. The choir aims to improve the self-esteem of marginalised people in society through communal song. as well as give them the opportunity to make social contacts.

CEO of the organisation Heather Knight says: “Our Christmas gigs are by far the highlight of our year, with members and audiences alike singing their hearts out feeling part of something special.” Expect festive favourites like The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.

Brighton Festival Chorus Christmas Concert

Sunday, December 11, 4pm, from £12.50

The esteemed chorus group, formed in 1968, join forces with Brighton Festival Youth Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for this annual medley of Christmas songs. The family orientated event gives the audience the chance to join the chorus in harmony. One lucky (or brave) person will have the opportunity to conduct Handel’s Hallelujah, too. Get those vocal chords warmed up.

Pull a Cracker with Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus

Saturday, December 10, 7.30pm, from £13

The country’s biggest gay men’s chorus outside London will be raising money for the British Red Cross with this concert. Established in 2005, the choir has become a local institution and is back this Christmas by popular demand. The group’s principles revolve around three words beginning with the letter “S” – singing, support, socialising. Never ones to miss a chance for a pun, the chorus promise the show will good for your elf.

All shows at Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Church Street, call 01273 709709

Other events in Brighton

Brighton Goes Gospel: Joy to the World

Roedean Theatre, Roedean School, Brighton, Saturday, December 10, 7.30pm (matinee 3pm), adult £12, children £8, 01273 667655

One hundred and sixty gospel voices come together in this volunteer-run choir. Formed in 2000, BGG have performed at the Brighton marathon and, oddly, the Labour Party conference. For their Christmas concert they are uniting with pop singer Sharlene Hector, one of the lead vocalists in long-running dance group Basement Jaxx. You might also know her from the CocaCola advert in which she sings I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone.

Blind Veterans UK Carol Concert

The Chapel, Greenways, Ovingdean, Saturday, December 10, 5pm, free (ticket application encouraged), 02077 235021

The Reverend Peter Wolfenden will be leading this service of carols, readings and musical entertainment. A glass of mulled wine and a mince pie for each visitor is on the house. The winner of the Christmas raffle will be announced at the end of the night and donations for Blind Veterans UK are welcome. For more information on the group and the event visit:

Eastbourne and Seaford

Concentus sings Christmas

St Leonard’s Parish Church, Church Street, Seaford, Saturday, December 10, and St Saviour’s Church, South Street, Eastbourne, Saturday, December 17, both events at 4pm, £10, 01323 643358

Musical director Adrian White leads the Eastbourne-based choir though modern and traditional festive favourites. The term Concentus has etymological connotations of unity and the group strives to project this level of harmony within the choir and in its music.

Chichester Christmas

Concerts Chichester Festival Theatre, Oaklands Part, Tuesday, December 6, to Saturday, December 10, 7.30pm, 01243 781312

Carols, sing-a-longs and cracker jokes are to be expected as Chichester’s flagship theatre brings in the festive period. The Chichester Cathedral Choir and The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines join forces. Audience members can cast their vote for favourite carol of the year and win the chance to join the choirs on stage. In the Bleak Midwinter was last year’s chosen song.


Carols by Candlelight

St Anne’s Church, Western Road, Lewes, Saturday, December 17, 6pm, free, 01273 472545

Coming relatively late in the carol schedule, this concert offers pedestrians a welcome break from last-minute Christmas shopping. The Esterhazy Chamber Choir are on hand to provide well-known classics but also some more obscure choices that you may no be familiar with. The highlight of the annual event arrives when children are invited to the front of the stage to sing Away in a Manger.


The Salvation Army Carol Concert

Worthing Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Sunday, December 11, 3pm, £5, 01903 206206

The high-profile charity will be raising money for their Worthing community work in this concert which features much-loved carols and contemporary festive hits. More detail on all of the listed events can be found by calling the numbers or visiting the websites provided.


Carol Concert

Community House, Meridian Centre, today, 6pm, free, 01273 585493

The festivities kick off with the annual carol concert before a Christmas market in the same location the next day where children will have the chance to meet Santa in his grotto.

Burgess Hill

Family Carol Concert

The King’s Church, Victoria Road, Monday, December 19, 6.30pm, adults £12, children £3, 01444 244215

A fixture in the calendar for Mid Sussex families, this concert by Sussex Chorus promises to provide plenty of audience interaction for children and adults. A mixture of traditional and modern Christmas songs will be performed with John Walker on piano and Alan Vincent conducting.


Carols Service

St Nicolas Church, St Nicolas Lane, Sunday, December 18, 6pm, 01273 979811

The Nativity story is told before the carols commence at this aptly titled church. The event lasts roughly one hour and is followed by mulled wine and mince pies.

Christmas Carol Concert

St Mary de Haura Church, Church Street, Monday, December 5, 1pm, free, 01273 440202

The 4sight charity for blind and partially sighted people hosts this event featuring the Seaford College Chapel Choir.


Lancing College Christmas Concert

Lancing College Chapel, Saturday, December 17, 3pm, free (donations welcome), 01273 452213

Winston’s Wish, the charity for Bereaved Children, host the inaugural Christmas concert at the beautiful college. Choral music, readings and carols can be enjoyed with a hearty glass of mulled wine.


Nine lessons and Carols

St Mary’s Church, The Causeway, Horsham, Sunday, December 18, 01403 253762