A Concert for Christmas Margaret Keys with The Fishpond Choir & Bel Canto Male Chorus

A Concert for Christmas Margaret Keys with The Fishpond Choir & Bel Canto Male Chorus
Margaret Keys is returning to Belper after wowing the audience when she opened the Belper Arts Festival. Her concert on 1 December begins a series of high profile appearances in the run up to Christmas. Over the past couple of weeks Margaret has been recording a new album and I caught up with her between sessions. It will be her second album of the year. 'The Gift Of Music' reached number two on the classical chart and I started by asking her what it felt like to have a 'chart topping' album.
Margaret's smile said all. “Amazing! I am so fortunate to have so many people support what I do. I couldn’t have done it without everyone and for that I am truly thankful. I just hope I can continue to share my music for many more years to come. It really is a gift to me in so many ways.”
It's clear that Margaret loves Christmas. “Christmas for me is about spending time with my family and friends. I spend so much time travelling that I really enjoy being home in Ireland and relaxing with the people I love. It’s the simple things that make Christmas for me:  the smell of cooking; having a good sing song; seeing people I haven’t had the chance to see all year and I always sing at my family Church for Christmas morning mass. Two years ago I was performing at a gala Christmas concert in Amsterdam so I spent Christmas away from home that year. I missed it terribly and realised how important it is to be home for Christmas and it is all about family and being truly thankful for everything that I have in my life. Christmas music and services is also important. I grew up with it and I sang every year at Mass. it played a role in allowing me to become the person that I am today.” 
What is your first Christmas memory? “As a young child (around the age of 4) I remember the excitement of Christmas Eve and waking up to see what goodies I had been left in my stocking. I also clearly remember going to Christmas Eve mass with my parents. The church looked beautiful and even as a young child I wanted to hear the choir sing. The lights were always switched off when they sang Holy Night and now I carry on that tradition every Christmas Morning. The music, prayer and candlelight brings such a feeling of peace to everyone.” 
People do like to do the same thing Christmas after Christmas. 'Tradition' if you like. It might be opening presents on Christmas Eve or a walk on Boxing Day. I asked Margaret about her Christmas traditions?
MEDIA RELEASE A Concert for Christmas Margaret Keys with The Fishpond Choir & Bel Canto Male Chorus
The Margaret Keys Interview : My Christmas
“We have family traditions. We always have roast ham on Christmas Eve, light a good turf/log fire; watch “It’s a Wonderful life” and visit as many family members as we can. Since my father passed away traditions changed a little. We want him to be a part of it so we always visit his grave every day of the Christmas period.” 
Christmas is a particularly busy time for entertainers and that prompted me to ask “Are you a 'last minute shopper' or are you organised?” “I do try to be organised but as Christmas is such a busy time for me every year I am always really caught up pre Christmas. So I do have a few last minute things to get usually….but that’s all part of the fun!”
The concert in Belper will feature seasonal music. Margaret is keeping her set omething of a secret for now but did reveal that “I will be performing 'O Holy Night' and I love “In The Bleak Midwinter.”
Margaret Keys is in concert with the Fishpond Choir (Musical Director : Dana de Waal who will also accompany Miss Keys) and Bel Canto Male Chorus (Musical Director : Andrew White) on 1st December at St. Peter's Church, Chesterfield Road, Belper.
Tickets Adult £10 Under 16s £5  from belperartsfestival.org and from OXFAM BOOKS King St., Belper.
Contact : George Gunby  Tel 07847 478251  Email nonnel@sky.com 31a FIELD LANE, BELPER DE56 1DD 
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