At this time of year we enter into the strange, parallel universe which is ‘Bridge-mas’. Since University terms are relatively short here, and the students barely make it into Advent before disappearing home, an alternative Christmas celebration takes place around a month before the official date. Thus November 25th becomes Bridge-mas Day, and those Colleges not overly beset by liturgical niceties will hold carol services and put up decorations.
In my own college, St Catharine’s, this means a particularly congested end-of-term since November 25 also happens to be our patronal feast-day; so mixed messages of martyrdom and incarnation abound. But never mind – it also means a feast of wonderful music; and on the menu at Catz will be not only the wonderful Judith Weir Ave regina coelorum (which participants in our April Singing Retreat will remember) but also a new carol by Cheryl Frances-Hoad – Lordings, Listen to our Lay – wherein Christian and secular messages are all mixed up together in a huge festive pie. Something for everyone – the ideal way to celebrate Bridge-mas.
Edward Wickham, Artistic Director, Cambridge Choral Academy; Director of Music, St Catharine’s College, Cambridge