What this year has clearly lacked is a new wassail, but fortunately Glasgow University-based choir Madrigirls and Glasgow-based composer Emily Dolittle have stepped up to supply just that.
Dolittle’s new wassail, The Wren King, will be premiered during the choir’s annual Advent concert, entitled A Light in the Darkness, which is being streamed on YouTube on Sunday December 6 at 7.30pm.
The Madrigirls seasonal event, usually held in the University’s Memorial Chapel, where conductor Katy Lavinia Cooper is director of music, will this year be a filmed event celebrating the choir’s 20th anniversary, combining new video and audio recordings with archive material. As well as Dolittle’s work, the recital will include a new setting of medieval text There is no Rose by American composer Frank La Rocca. Both pieces are the fruits of crowdfunding campaign earlier this year to commission pieces to mark the choir’s birthday.
Cooper and Catriona Downie formed Madrigirls in 2000 when they were both undergraduates at the university. Initially a female group, it is now an inclusive upper-voice choir of around 40 members, and more than 250 singers have passed through its ranks in the past two decades.
As well as music, the Advent concert will feature visual art by Odeta Brazeniene and readings submitted in response to an open call to writers from Paul Cuddihy, Rosemary Gemmell, Freya Holliman, Susan Mansfield, Claire Quigley, Kate Robinson, Denise Steele and Siobhan Walsh.
Image: Madrigirls 2019 credit Harry Campbell