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Settle at Christmas – Info



Having last year chosen to change from their “Festival of Words and Music for Christmas” to a far more conventional service of lessons and carols it was interesting to see that this year the Christmas service was once again in vogue. While this was extremely enjoyable in itself and certainly one of the very best of its kind, it did however rather limit the range of talents on display and seemed a rather pedestrian choice for a school which demonstrably has so much to offer and to celebrate in terms of  its students’ versatility.  The event followed a time honoured pattern of bible readings, carols and anthems by both the school choir and Schola Cantorum and without doubt the chapel is the perfect venue for this very traditional showpiece.  The music throughout the evening was superb and organist Phillip Broadhurst certainly provided a stunning accompaniment to the congregation hymns. Again these were very conservative in nature, but perhaps because of this they were sung with great enthusiasm and were greatly enlivened by the wonderful descants and harmonies provided by the choir – nowhere more so than in the stunning closing verse of “O Come All Ye Faithful”.   Special mention should also be made of the young musicians who provided an accompaniment to the first choral anthem, “The Snow” by Elgar. This was particularly atmospheric. The set readings were read by a mix of adults and scholars and while the richness of the language in these pieces is always a joy to hear when read with expression there is always a danger that over familiarity with the phrasing can lead to them lacking impact and meaning. Fortunately in the majority of instances that was not the case as the students read with great clarity and at times with great insight.  The real highlight of the evening however was the singing, and while it is a shame that the format did not allow for a wider range of musicianship to be on display there was no doubting the range and abilities of the choirs who tackled complex pieces with great skill. The choral music throughout was of an extremely high standard, with the beauty and clarity of the young people’s voices adding a marvellous dimension to well known pieces such as the extremely joyous rendition of Carter’s arrangement of “I Saw Three Ships”.  Their diction was faultless and this was particularly noticeable in the striking performance of “The Carol of the Bells”, which positively sparkled with life.  Congratulations to all concerned, but particularly to the Director of Music, James Taylor, for his hard work in training the choir and selecting such an interesting and diverse range of pieces.  It is very much to the credit of all the staff and students involved that the service flowed so smoothly and demonstrated a real sense of purpose and so congratulations and thanks to all for the high level of commitment and effort which went into the service.



At a time when festive indulgences and selection boxes are at the forefront of many minds then it is appropriate to consider that in many ways life is like a box of chocolates: and if that is the case then this popular community concert is certainly a pick and mix assortment with a range of musical items to cover many tastes. However, it should also be remembered that Settle is particularly blessed to be able to have quite such a range of goodies available from which to choose, for we are very fortunate to have a number of musical groups and talented individuals which cover such a range of genres.  The evening began with what can only be described as the true sugar candies, a duo of items by a group of pupils from Settle Primary School. It is always a delight to hear young voices carolling and their version of ” It was on a Starry Night” was no exception.  Langcliffe Singers presented the pralines with a trio of traditional European carols from Germany, Poland and Netherlands. As always their contribution bore the hallmarks of experience with clear diction, accuracy in the harmonies and a rich tone to their singing. Infant Holy, Infant Lowly was particularly beautiful.  Settle Voices provided a totally difference musical experience, with a reliance on folk carols and a clear warmth and enjoyment in their songs.  As sweet and satisfying as a rustic home-made fudge their Devon carol “I hear along our street” was most certainly the cream of the crop. Settle Amateur Operatic Society concert party eschewed carols in favour of seasonal songs (mass produced chocolates perhaps) and while at times these can become sweet and cloying here they were a perfect addition to the selection, with lively accompaniment and sung with great sincerity they provided a wonderful interlude of easy listening music. The final artistes, Octameron, were truly the mint crisps of the box – sophisticated rhythms, elegant arrangements and sparkling humour made for a heady mix. Their pieces ranged from the medieval feel of “A Child is Born”, with stunning performances by the sopranos, through to the sublime performance of “The Ground” and the moving “Christmas Blessing.” Throughout it all were interwoven the traditional toffees of favourite carols as well as two outstanding  and very, very different pieces of organ music performed by Graham Toft and Paul Fisher. Congratulations to all concerned for providing such a feast of Christmas music, particularly to those who took part in more than one group item and to Nigel Waugh for masterminding the event and arranging the programme.


There is a Christmas Even walk on Saturday  24 December to   Druid’s Altar and St Ives Estate. This is an 8-10 mile circular moderate walk leaving Bingley at 9.06 and there is a possibility of an extension to Saltaire dependent on weather conditions and size and nature of the group. For those who feel the need to walk off Christmas over indulgence there is a Christmas Pud Plod on Wednesday 28 December.   This is an 8 mile strenuous walk from Gargrave to Skipton via Sharp Haw. This leaves Gargrave at 9.32 am. All participants are reminded that it is their responsibility to make sure  that they are appropriately clothed, carry a packed lunch where required and have suitable footwear.  Details of all walks can  be found at


The first foreign film of 2017 will be shown at Victoria Hall on Wednesday  4th January and is inHindi, Catalan (with English subtitles) & English. Traces of Sandalwood is the story of a Bollywood star searching for her long lost sister. It is a  story of hope and love from Mumbai to Barcelona and back. Doors open at 7 pm with showing commencing at 7.45pm. All tickets: £5 on the door.


The group’s first meeting of the new year  will take place on Monday 16 January at Townhead Court at 7.30pm when the theme will be “Night Photography”. This will take a look at working in the dark, including the practical aspects and some creative possibilities. The gallery will focus on the group’s exhibition at The Gallery on the Green, which opens on 15 January.


A reminder that St John’s Methodist Church welcome you to the Coffee Pot every Tuesday morning. The coffee pot will be open on 27 December between 10-11.30 and is open to everyone, including visitors to the town. There is home baking, fresh coffee and a warm welcome guaranteed. The first Tuesday in the month is a charity coffee pot with donations to a charity nominated by that month’s organiser.


For those wanting a short stroll around town to work off festive puds or to build up an appetite for more seasonal fare,  The Christmas Exhibition at the Gallery on the Green is a perfect destination and has already been featured in the Yorkshire post as one of the best places to view Christmas Art.  This year’s installation has been provided by Settle Flagmakers, under the guidance of Jeanne Carr and  features a winter wonderland with penguins sliding down a waterfall and generally having fun in a wintry landscape.  The display includes a small supply of chocolate money – this time at the bottom of the waterfall, with visitors invited to take a coin. And if previous years are anything to go by, generous adult visitors will add to the supply during the month that the exhibition is on display.


There is still time to book a place for the Christmas Day lunch and tea. This annual event takes place in St John’s Hall and is open to all. The cost is £10 per head, £5 for children. Transport is available and bookings are now being taken on 01729 822138.


There will be a  New Year’s eve Charity Dance in aid of Victoria Hall.  The venue will be St Mary and St Michael Catholic Church Hall, and not Victoria Hall as previously advertised. Reservations can be made via 01729 823259 / 824038.This event will run from 8pm until after midnight and all are welcome. Please note that there will be a Jacobs Join supper at this event.


An eight week mindfulness course will commence in the new year at Hellifield. Sessions will take place at Goal Cottage between 10-12.30pm on Thursdays from 19 January onwards.  For details and bookings please contact 07803 721135.


Churches Together in Settle and District invite you to join them in celebrating Christmas at one of the many services being held in the town over the festive season. Everyone is welcome and there are a wide range of services.  On Christmas Eve, 24 December, the Church of Holy Ascension will hold a Nativity Service at 4.30pm, St John’s Methodist Church will host songs and stories around the Christmas tree at 5.30pm and St Alkelda’s in Giggleswick will hold its Nativity service at 6.30pm. St Mary and St Michael Catholic Church will hold a service to mark the first Mass of Christmas at 6pm.  There are late night services at 11.30pm at the Church of the Holy Ascension and at Giggleswick School Chapel (this service is open to all, not just those associated with the school).  On Christmas Day itself there will be an all age Eucharist at The Church of the Holy Ascension at 9.30am. At 10am there will be a Christmas Day Mass at St Mary and St Michael Catholic Church and St John’s Methodist Church will hold a family Christmas Worship. The congregation are invited to bring along a present to this service to share in the joy of opening gifts together.  At 10.30 am Settle Christian Fellowship will hold a Christmas Celebration and there will be a half hour meeting for worship at Friends Meeting House. At 11 am there will be parish communion at St Alkelda’s, Giggleswick.

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