Thursday, 3 December 2009
There was lots to rejoice about tonight as hut number 128 was taken over by All Saints Church Hove, who chose O Come, O Come Emmanuel as their carol.
Bright fluorescent colours offset the dark icon which was the centrepiece of the display with a mass of different Christmas lights hung around the hut and arranged on the floor.
This is the first time that we've had a chance to sing and we were all given song sheets so that we could sing the theme carol to the accompaniment of a ukelele played by one of the parishioners who is just about to head off to Afghanistan to work over the Christmas period.
It's interesting to see the mix of people who come along and already those of us who attend each night are beginning to get to know some of the folk who are making this a regular part of their preparation for Christmas.
The loyalty scheme seems to be helping with this as every night there are a number of people who are keen to get a stamp on their card with many of them having 100% attendance so far.
It's great to meet people who have made a special effort to come and see what we're doing like the group of university first year girls who came along tonight after reading about us on the internet. In some cases we've been able to renew relationships first begun at last years event as well.
There'll be more opportunities to meet people, chat and share mince pies and mulled wine together tomorrow night at hut number 177 where we'll get a chance to experience an open air silent disco.
Despite torrential rain most of the day and while we were setting up, the weather turned calm and fine for the hour alotted for our opening tonight and we had a a lovely calm evening under the full moon. This fitted with the theme which was Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent, a beautiful, quiet carol from the 4th century about Christ descending to earth surrounded by the host of heavenly angels.
To symbolise this we had a 1m high block of crystal clear ice embedded with a nativity scene showing Jesus descending towards the stable while Mary and Joseph waited in expectation. The angels were symbolised by pairs of feather wings floating above the scene, accompanying Jesus as he floated down. The whole tableau was lit with LEDs and lasers giving a gorgeous ethereal light. There's something about the way figures can be suspended in ice like this that is very magical and the carol has a mystical air to it that matched the mood of the sculpture very well.
When the event was over we were able to take the block of ice to a local school and install it in their playground so that the children can see how long the ice lasts in these winter conditions. This was Martin Poole's hut and those who know him will recognise themes from the last year as we've dabbled with lasers and ice sculptures at various other events in the BEYOND calendar, not least being the ton and a half ice sculpture we created for Greenbelt.
Numbers were good again tonight with plenty of people keen to get their stamps towards winning the Hotel du Vin prize. Tomorrow we're down by Hove Lawns at hut 128.