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Big gig for the City of Birmingham Choir at Symphony Hall on Sunday. It's the annual Christmas concert, with the usual roster of carols and traditional songs for the whole family to join in.

Established in 1921, the choir has 140 members and deserves support as one of the few self-funding, independent choirs around. It stages all its own concerts.

There's an extra special ingredient for this year - the first performance of a piece written by Bob Chilcott, a former King's Singer and now established as a popular composer. Called 'And Peace on Earth' it embraces a variety of styles, including jazz and big band music. Heart of England Brass and a choir of youngsters from local primary schools have been drafted in as well as a female vocalist, Birmingham-born Abigail Kelly, still only 21.

She was head girl at King Edward Vl Handsworth Grammar School before going on to study at Birmingham Conservatoire. She has spent the summer touring Germany with the Arianna Consort.

The event starts at 2.30pm. Info and tickets from 0121 780 3333 or log on to the website

Another seasonal plug. The Paramount Gallery in Bridge Street, Pershore, is currently hosting an exhibition of oil paintings by Midland artist Brian Tovey. Mostly oils, he deals with rural scenes, with an emphasis on hunting, often with a humourous slant. There's one where the fox is about to shoot a cannon at pursuers.

Some of the pictures are available as postcards or Christmas cards. Also at the gallery is a selection of Royal Worcester and other procelain. The gallery is closed Monday and Thursday. Details from 01386 550473.

With small scale film making enjoying something of a boom in the region here's a news item which should interest a few people out there.

Submissions for the sixth annual Filmstock Festival, which runs from June 1to15 next year are now being accepted. The 2004 event screened 104 shorts in competition as well as 20 documentaries and 14 feature films in its official selection. To find out more about Filmstock and what filmmakers think of them, visit or email In 2005, alongside the independent strand will be a continuing montage strand (in association with The Director's Guild) where established filmmakers curate a season of their influences and open the festival discussing their favourite films. Past curators have been Jim Sheridan and Mike Hodges All entry details are on the site. Films accepted this year will be automatically considered for the in-development Filmstock International events in Hungary (April 05) and Washington DC (Sep 05).

Shorts should be less than 25 minutes and of any genre, age, budget.

On Wednesday night at Birmingham Bar Academy there's a chance to see Black Bud, a young band who won the national competition from 3000 nationwide entries to play the New Stage at Glastonbury Festival this year. They have since gone on to sign a major record deal and are now on the same label as Travis and Embrace. They've promised to do a busking session in the city earlier in the day for the Big Issue. Which is nice.

Pub operator Wetherspoon has added an exclusive draught Belgian ale to its range of beers. It is the only UK pub company to list a cask Belgian ale.

The beer, De Koninck Ambree, has been brewed in Antwerp since 1833, and has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of five per cent (add that to your list, Damien).

It is described as 'a fullbodied, top-fermenting ale, with velvety-smooth flavours.' Beer writer and editor of the Campaign for Real Ale Good Beer Guide, Roger Protz, (a one-time NUJ cohort of Vulture) said: ' De Koninck Ambree is the stand-out beer brewed in Belgium and it is great news that it is now available to people across the UK.

'The beer has a lovely peppery hop character, with a nice biscuity malt flavour.'

Vulture wonders if the onetime ideologically pure Protz got paid for that quote?

Thank God for church ladies with word processors. Vulture is assured these sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services: Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'

Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8pm in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands.

The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7pm. Please use the back door.


Abigail Kelly
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 13, 2004
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