One of the simplest arrangements stood out with the trio and Nesbitt, accompanied by Downes' piano.Carlin brought a very direct emotion to "Silent Night" and showed a solid upper range at the end.
It would be hard to do pop music without "White Christmas." The trio made it lush, especially in the last chorus. A bit of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" made the end shine.
Nesbitt played Holst's "In the Bleak Midwinter" and a pair of flashy Celtic dance medleys (with Riley on frame drum) with flair.
Lambe sang gorgeously on Robert Burns' "Old Lang Syne" -- on that other tune that you hear once in a while and not the one that we sing on New Year's Eve. Carlin traded phrases with a bagpipes player on "We Three Kings of Orient are" to striking effect.
The concert had two big closing numbers. "Oh, Christmas Tree" was sung in German with brass resounding to close the first half. "You Raise Me Up" ended the program with the singers in neat harmony and in an arrangement that stopped short of being over the top.
A straightforward "O, Come All Ye Faithful" and a witty "Let it Snow" were the encores.
John Page led the local orchestra with precision and style.