27 November 2019, The Tablet

Mixed and matched



Classical Kicks!
Ronnie Scott’s, London

As Advent kick-offs go, this took some beating. The candles flickered, the congregation was hushed. The stunning Sixteen, with its maestro Harry Christophers on sparkling form, conducted the voices, and “Veni, Veni Emmanuel” rang out over the chink of wine glasses.

Wine glasses? Yes, because this was, for The Sixteen, a venue with a difference. We were in the legendary Soho jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s, whose owner Michael Watt, a genial Australian who mingled with the crowd and complimented my husband on his shoes, has been a patron of what is perhaps the country’s best-known choir for the last five years. Bringing the singers celebrated for their sacred music into a club that has known plenty of real life over its 60-year history had been a dream for Watt – and the fact that it was coincidentally the 40th anniversary of the founding of The Sixteen made for the perfect moment.

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