Festive joy for carol composer Rachel

Rachel Groves, winner of The Times carol competition
Rachel Groves, winner of The Times carol competition

A young Banchory harpist is joint winner of The Times Christmas carol competition.

Rachel Groves, 18, originally composed Joy as a festive present for her father last year.

This summer she rearranged it for Aberdeen Orpheus Choir, and she was encouraged to enter the piece for the Times competition.

Rachel said: “I thought ‘why not’, but I never expected to hear anything further. So when I got a call to say my piece had been shortlisted, it came as a complete surprise.”

Her composition was chosen from more than 150 entries.

Rachel explained: “I wanted to choose words that speak about the true meaning of Christmas.

“The music is a lilting and happy, Celtic-inspired tune, with flowing harp and flute accompaniment.”

The young harpist is doing a gap year at Abbeyhill Baptist Church in Edinburgh.

She began the Clarsach, or Celtic harp, at 12, and was taught by local teacher, Alison Bell, of Finzean.

Joy will be performed by Aberdeen Orpheus Choir, with Rachel on harp, in Craigiebuckler Church tomorrow (Friday) at 7.30pm.