A once-a-year village pop-up choir is to start the festive season off in style with a musical rendition at a Christmas Celebration service at St. James’ Church Bishampton on Friday 15 December.

The amateur choir of fourteen, under the direction of local resident Derek Ruskin, will be singing A Sussex Carol, and In the Bleak mid-Winter, in and amongst a selection of amusing readings, and carols in preparation for Christmas.

Derek, who has a varied musical background including belonging to a progressive folk/rock band in his past, and more recently forming the Menith Wood Christmas Choir, took over as conductor last year. He said: “The pop-up choir started with around eight choristers but now we’ve got quite a few people joining in, ranging from bass to soprano which is great.

“Rehearsals started in earnest a few weeks ago and so we’re all looking forward to airing our voices in two weeks time accompanied by local organist, Nigel Smith.”

The free event begins at 7pm with mulled wine and mince pies at St. James’ and lasts around two hours. Thanks to fundraising efforts by local charity the Friends of St. James, the church is now heated, has a car park, disabled entrance, modern toilet facilities, and new illuminated pathways so visitors can enjoy the event in comfort.

The choir will also be singing at St. Edburga’s Church, Abberton on Friday 22 December at 8pm, and outside The Dolphin Pub on Christmas Eve at 6pm. All are very welcome.