…by Charis / from Salford, England / studying Medicine / 4th Year (UG)
It’s that time of the year again when Christmas decorations go up, the turkey comes out and Edinburgh becomes wonderfully frosty and festive. But for me personally, the best part of December is the jam-packed schedule of winter concerts and carol services! Being an enthusiastic member of the Edinburgh University Musical Medics, Wind Band and the Dick Vet Musicians, I had been waiting for this month since the summer concerts of last academic year. Our winter performances are always really fun and represent an entire semester of rehearsals and practice. For us, this is usually a very busy time and this concert season was as joyfully hectic as all those before it.
My festive fun kicked off with the Dick Vet Musicians winter concert. We were all dressed up in black and the lovely smell of mince pies wafted around us as we sang old folk songs interspersed with traditional Christmas carols. The concert was held in a beautiful church and we had plenty of family and friends come to support us. Although not a Veterinary Medicine student, I have always felt extremely welcome within their small choir and orchestra and was very happy to be part of their cosy evening before finishing off the night by excitedly having my fill of the pies.
At the start of the following weekend came the Wind Band concert. Of the ensembles that I am part of, Wind Band is by far the largest with over 100 members playing that evening. The concert was held in the University’s Reid Concert Hall, a recently renovated, classy, historic building. The repertoire is always extremely varied and as cliché as it is to say, there’s definitely something for everyone! We played pieces such as Vesuvius by Ticheli and a Beatles Medley amongst more Christmassy tunes. As always, the concert was a huge success, selling out the hall and raising a significant amount of money for the charities Shelterbox and Unite Against Cancer.
The following day, I made my way down the Royal Mile to Carrubers Christian Centre. This was the venue of the annual Lothian Healthcare Carol Service, run by the Edinburgh University Christian Medical Fellowship. It aims to bring healthcare workers together to celebrate Christmas, and I was playing in the orchestra. All was going to plan until the power unexpectedly cut (perhaps a fairy light overload!) and it was looking like we might need to go and buy candles. Fortunately, we relocated and from there, the service ran smoothly. After playing more Christmas carols, I caught up with some of my friends over even more mince pies.
On the final day of my extremely musical fortnight, I performed in the Musical Medics Christmas Concert. As we are a very casual and laid-back society, we had left quite a few organisational tasks to the final minute and this wasn’t helping our stress levels! However, this soon sorted itself out and we relaxed into an afternoon of the Nutcracker Suite and the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack amongst other pieces. Our home-baked goods were a hit with the audience and we managed to raise money for the charity Children’s Hospices Across Scotland. It was a fantastic ending to my wonderfully festive concert season.
Having had enough mince pies and mulled wine to last me until next Christmas and played Hark! The Herald Angels Sing more times than I can remember, I’m finally satisfied for the year. For me, everyone coming together to play and sing is one of my favourite parts of Christmas. Now it’s time to knuckle down with revision for the upcoming exams whilst enjoying multiple Christmas dinners!