Eeppi Ursin keeps Christmas stylish.

Midwinter is undoubtedly a period of reflection and contemplation, the one time of the year when many folks even go to church and maybe meditate on their fate. Well, even if that’s only for us contemplative souls, there is always plenty on offer in churches for musical souls at this time of year.

In the heart of Helsinki’s Kallio, Benjamin Britten’s St Nicholas Cantata comes to life alongside soloist Niall Chorell, with the audience anticipated to play an integral role. In the spirit of community activity, the programme includes a rehearsal session for all those intending to attend the performance. This might be a challenge for the uninitiated, but it is as good an opportunity as any to see if there’s a diva hiding inside you, just waiting to sing out.

Down on Tehtaankatu there’s a more raucous assembly involving more than just spiritual powers – Helsinki-based Spirit of New Orleans or SONO will be joined by original Louisiana-born trumpeter Leroy Jones for an evening of old-time southern jazz. The evening is a repeat of their 2006 concert dedicated to the victims of hurricane Katrina, though this time the programme has a down-home gospel theme.

Sun 6 Dec
St Nicholas Cantata
Kallio church, 17:00

Mon 7 Dec
Spirit of New Orleans, Leroy
Jones & Eeppi Ursin
Agricola church, 19:00

Again bringing vocal power to the band will be their trusted guest, singer Eeppi Ursin. This line-up sees Ursin singing classics like Amazing Grace and gospel standard A Closer Walk with Thee, and others featured on the SONO’s new CD Mahogany Hall Stomp. So how about getting into the seasonal groove and helping stomp up a seasonal storm?

“Churches are great places to perform – people are more receptive, more focused in that environment,” Ursin puts it. “And those acoustics!”

Anthony Shaw