Those who have followed this blog for some time will know that I love Christmas. Not only do I have a Christmas jumper (it has Rudolph on it), but I also have a Christmas themed thermal top - which is much cooler than it sounds. Honestly. My Christmas tree has been up since the first of December, and I have been singing David Willcocks descants in the shower for weeks (apologies to my neighbours).

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales Christmas celebrations began this weekend, with the BBC Cymru Wales carol concert. On Sunday morning, our chorus and a host of celebs from BBC Wales joined together for a morning of carol singing and Christmas readings.

The carol concert was in aid of BBC Children in Need and organist Jane Watts and a massed choir of primary school children from all over Wales added to the Christmas cheer, alongside pupils from Coed Glas Primary School's Hearing Impaired Resource Base, Llanishen. Our lovely brass players also got involved and, as it is Christmas, there was of course a host of glorious brass fanfares. They very much enjoy a fanfare.

On Tuesday night the whole orchestra, along with Welsh conductor Grant Llewellyn, will take to the stage at St David’s Hall for an evening of family favourites.

It is traditional that the orchestra be allowed to accessorize their regular concert wear for these concerts and this is something that is taken very seriously. There is a little bit of healthy competition between sections as to which group can look the most festive.

Personal favourites of the last few years have been the horn sections ‘bah humbug’ black Santa hats and Jim Drummond’s fabulous effort, when he festooned his whole viola with lights two Christmases ago.

After Tuesday, we have a little break from the Christmas music (boo!) as we prepare for an afternoon concert with Jun Märkl at Hoddinott Hall (more about that in my next blog), before we head to Sir Thomas Picton School in Haverfordwest for our final concert of 2013!

2013 has seen a number of big changes for the orchestra. Next week we say cheerio to our interim director David Jackson, as he hands over the baton to our new director Michael Garvey, who moved into the director’s office this week.

Michael comes to us from the Academy of Ancient Music and previously worked with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Arts Council of England, and Classic FM. We are very excited to have him and wish him all the best in his new role as we look ahead to a new year and exciting times at BBC NOW HQ!

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