Silent Night


Before I got so into web design, I used to write a lot of music. I’d often churn out about 5 to 10 pieces of music a week. I don’t have a lot of it left, but when I really liked something, I’d print off the sheet music and give it to my school music teacher, Mr Jones. I couldn’t play the piano, so I would ask him to play it through so I could hear it for real.

In Christmas 2005, I wrote a song to the words of Silent Night. It’s a voice-only piece for Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. Mr Jones really liked it and decided the school chamber choir would perform it for the Christmas concert at the school, and the school’s carol service which was held in St Albans Cathedral every year.

There were just a handful of us in that choir – I think 2 or 3 male teachers singing Bass and Tenor, 3 girls (including myself) singing Alto, and around 5 Sopranos. We rehearsed the piece every week leading up to its first performance in the Cathedral. The first time we sang it in the church was the most amazing feeling; the acoustics in the church are the best I’ve ever sang in, and it was so cool to hear people singing a piece I’d written. Later that day, everyone in the school filed into the Cathedral and we performed the piece for the first time to around 1,000 students and teachers. It was an unforgettable experience.

The smoke plume from Buncefield, as seen from the top of the top of my road.

Later that week, we were due to sing the piece again and capture a recording of it at the Christmas concert at the school. Unfortunately, this coincided with the Buncefield oil disaster where a massive oil storage terminal a couple of miles away exploded in the middle of a very clear and starry night and burned for 3 days. Windows in the Cathedral we’d just sung at were blown in. Schools were closed as the surrounding area was covered in a thick, stinking smog so the concert was cancelled and my piece never got performed again.

I decided to publish the only recording I have of the song, which is just the computer playing the notes without any lyrics. It really doesn’t do the song justice, so you’ll have to imagine it being sung by a small choir in a big old stone Cathedral.