December is the time of good traditions and celebrations of the great Christmas festival. Last weekend everything was made ready for the Christmas feast, where all those BCC members who wanted a dose of Christmas spirit, were invited to a night out with banquet and concert.
By: Johanne Reiersrud – Photo: Tobias Østmoen
On this otherwise quiet December evening, with a thin veil of mist shrouding the fjord in Vestfold, the atmosphere inside the hall was at its height. The guests hurried in from the cold, to candlelight and reunion with both friends and friend’s friends. In the course of the evening 40 enthusiastic musicians and singers entertained over 1700 festive guests at Oslofjord Convention Center in Vestfold. A menu consisting of swinging music, carefully planned choreography, delicate décor and choice fare created the perfect framework for the evening, where the Christmas gospel was the central theme in what was conveyed, both through messages and music.
A beautiful children’s choir with soloist Ståle Risnes in the background
Great atmosphere round the tables in the banqueting hall
Nora and the children’s choir sang the Christmas spirit into the audience with the song «The Longest Hour of the Year»
Ørjan Bolsønes in total concentration on the guitar
The hall and stage were beautifully decorated and lit
–This is the tenth year BCC has arranged a Christmas concert, but this year we have had to do it a little differently than previously, as Herman van Dijk, one of those who was responsible for the event, explains. -Because of the huge amount of construction work going on at Oslofjord Convention Center this year we couldn’t arrange the normal concert that we have previously arranged. So it looked as if the choir and orchestra, who have been used to entertaining both the BCC public and the population of Vestfold, would be taking a break. Nonetheless, there were so many of our members who said that they would miss this tradition, so we chose to turn things around and arrange a somewhat smaller Christmas feast, with fewer guests and a shortened program. Van Dijk continues, we have also reduced the number of musicians and choir members to about a third of those that usually participate, yet, those who were along, expressed their great enthusiasm over being able to contribute, even though the event was somewhat smaller than in previous years. He adds that despite the downscaling, the event required over 7000 hours of voluntary effort. –The songs are a mixture of well-known and more modern Christmas songs, and have been chiefly arranged by musicians from the Brunstad Concert Choir and Orchestra(BCCO). This has become a pleasant pre- Christmas tradition for them as well, and they put a lot of energy into arranging and performing the music on a high level.
A row of talented singers stood on stage in the course of the evening
The program seemed to be to the liking of traveling guests, who came from large parts of the east of Norway, but also from countries such as England, Denmark, Switzerland and Italy. When we asked some of the guests what the highpoint for them was in the feast, there were several answers, but we can mention the fantastic duet version of «The first Noël» made an impression, the vocal performance in «Nella Fantasia» gave the listeners goose-bumps, and a modern rendering of the classic «Det hev ei rose sprunge» drew the hall into a dizzy winter landscape via the LED-screen. The children conveyed much atmosphere and Christmas joy, some of which you can see in the film at the top of this article.
Thanks to all the devotees who made this evening possible, both musicians, singers, sound, light and picture technicians and the rest of the crew! When all the guests in the hall stood up at the end and sang «Deilig er jorden», we could confirm that the Christmas spirit, had once again been given a proper kick start.