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Cheryl Camm: Christmas Chor...Embedded video
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This is a modern folk song about the history of glass-making in Sunderland. It is part of a collection of songs about the River Wear, "Winter Wear". It can be performed as a Christmas song, or at other times of year. It is not especially religious.
Glass-making has always played an important role in the cultural and industrial history and soul of Sunderland and the River Wear: Benedict Biscop's unique use of French glass-makers to fill in the windows of his monastery church, St. Peter's in the 9th century; the industrial melting pot of the 19th century where the abundant supply of coal from the Durham coalfield, ferried down the River Wear, fuelled several industries, most notably steel-making, shipbuilding and glass making; the European monopoly of Joblings Glassworks making heatproof oven-ware out of Pyrex in the mid-20th century; and the National Glass Centre of today in which students at the University and glass artists from around the country craft enchanting art works. The first people to see each of these phenomena must have been transfixed by the novelty they were witnessing. This song portrays the response to each of these first encounters with the magical glass.
Simpler versions for SSAA or TTBB are available here.
Suitable for the Big Sing, and for community choirs
Come gather me round, all ye folks from asunder,
Let's drink Double Maxim and sit round the fire.
I'll sing ye a story of beauty and wonder:
A mystical tale of the magical glass.
I knelt in St. Peter's, one morn, cold as Christmas,
Lending an ear to the gospels and psalms.
The finger of God reached in through the glass windows
With heavenly radiance and rainbows and sunbeams.
He lit up the icons and stories of Jesus.
Sing praise to the Lord for the Magical Glass!
One dark Christmas Eve as I trudged through the snowdrifts
The warmth from the bell chimneys tempted me in.
I saw liquid fire from the devil's own furnace
Moulded with breathing and turning and cooling.
Charmed from the rubble of sand, lime and soda
And glistening black gold – it's the Magical Glass!
Last Christmas morning, my insides were rumbling
I went to the kitchen to check on my lunch.
What I saw jumped me back – all the food in glass dishes!
Potatoes and turkey and stuffing and sprouts,
All placed in the oven with alarming disinterest!
But sizzled like a dream in the Magical Glass.
It's Christmas - you shoppers will scratch your heads pondering
Just the right thing for your colleagues and kin.
There's exclusive enchantment in all that we're offering:
Here's art works and bottles and crystal and goblets,
All catching the light, then bewitching with colour
And shadow play – Sunderland's Magical Glass!
11 Dec 2011: Performed by Lionheart Harmony at Alnwick Gardens, Alnwick Northumberland, England