The Songways Christmas concert on Saturday 3 December was a tremendous occasion, with a large and appreciative audience in the beautiful setting and acoustics of St Swithin’s Church in Bath. Eighty singers from the three Songways choirs sang a wonderful range of festive carols, celebratory songs, and songs of peace. The choir was joined for three songs by the fabulous Bookshop Band – Beth Porter and Ben Please – with Beth playing cello, Ben glockenspiel and Jane fiddle. After a sociable interval with mulled wine and mince pies, The Bookshop Band performed a set of their original and inventive songs, ending with Smog over London, with the whole audience singing along.

Fantastic choir and uplifting songs – thank you

Such an enjoyable occasion

The Bookshop Band were a delight

Everyone gave generously to the retiring collection, contributing an amazing £500 which has been given to The Genesis Trust to support the Walcot Street Appeal and new Genesis Centre.

The Bookshop Band are Beth Porter and Ben Please, they write songs inspired by books and play them in bookshops. Formed in September 2010 for an author’s event at Bath’s Mr B’s Emporium of Books, they have recorded many albums of original songs and toured the UK performing at bookshops, libraries and music festivals to wide acclaim. Beth and Ben had just returned from their latest tour including the flagship Foyle’s bookshop on Charing Cross Road and in 2016 are releasing ten albums of songs.

Really fabulous new music… I think this is the most wonderful project, just delightful. Bob Harris – BBC Radio 2

Beth Porter is a songwriter, cellist and singer. Beth plays as a cellist for Eliza Carthy, her own band Beth Porter and the Availables (their debut album was in the Telegraph’s top folk albums of 2015), and string quartet The Stringbeans. More about Beth…

Ben Please is a songwriter and guitarist. He composes music for film and animation, including work on the BAFTA (2011) winning animation The Eagleman Stag. He is co-founder of the Bath arts/music/poetry monthly The Bath Burp, has a linocut studio, and occasionally works as an environmental filmmaker in East Africa.

The Genesis Trust

The Genesis Trust has been working in Bath for 21 years and in that time has supported thousands of homeless and vulnerable adults in the city, supported by over 700 local volunteers. The charity is currently fund-raising for the new Genesis Centre. This will be a base for the Life Skills project which provides a wide variety educational and training courses to vulnerable adults. It will also house an upcycled furniture shop, Genesis Home, which will sell an eclectic range of products and provide valuable work experience to those seeking to get back into employment.