Carols from the Cornish Diaspora

2018: Carols of the Cornish Diaspora – Truro Cathedral

At some point during 2017, Bert Biscoe got wind of what I was up to with my PhD – and pulled together Dean Roger Bush of Truro Cathedral, Emma Mansfield of Really Lovely Projects, and I to organise a carol service that was based around my research.

Emma and I collaborated to put together a programme of music that would feature three sets of three carols sung by three community choirs from across Cornwall: three carols from South Australia, three from California (my research foci) and three that were popular in Cornwall from the 19th century.

Emma Mansfield conducting the East Cornwall Choir singing Cornish carols from Australia

Many months of planning and rehearsals culminated in a truly wonderful evening of song and words. The three choirs in the three spires were excellently led by Emma, Hilary Coleman and Matt Thomason, in front of hundreds of people bringing these disparate, diasporic traditions together for the first time.

Honestly – there isn’t a single time that I look at Truro Cathedral that I don’t feel so incredibly lucky that I was able to share my research in such an amazing way with so many people. Huge thanks to everyone involved.

Idenna Ltd supported the project with photogrpahy and videography and created this wonderful short documentary film, which sums the project up so well:

It was even featured in the Guardian by Laura Snapes, who interviewed me and came along to the service.

2019: The Glad Sounds of Christmas – Lostwithiel, Camborne, St Just

Not wanting to lose momentum on this fantastic project, Emma and her co-conspiritor Michelle Nineham set about touring the carols across three different locations in the run-up to Christmas 2019.

I was on hand to help rehearse the carols and spoke at the services (although unfortnately I was ill for the Camborne event!).


In January 2020 we converged on the Camborne Wesley Centenary Chapel to record a selection of the carols the choirs performed in 2018 and 2019 for a CD, which is now available from Emma and coming out this Christmas.