CHORAL singers are a bit like posties and pub landlords - when everyone else is winding down for Christmas, they're getting ready for their busiest time of the year. 

Decibellas, Cheshire’s award-winning 75-strong ladies choir, is no exception, and it's already pulling out all the stops for a new and ambitious festive programme.

Set up as a community choir in 2010, Decibellas has blossomed into an award-winning upper-voice choir whose repertoire covers a wide range of uplifting music, taking in gospel pieces, spiritual songs, choral classics old and new, pop songs, and songs from musicals.

But this festive season will be a bit different for Decibellas, as they've just appointed their first ever assistant music director.

Northwich Guardian: Liv Westhead, from Hartford, joined Decibellas as their first assistant musical director in SeptemberLiv Westhead, from Hartford, joined Decibellas as their first assistant musical director in September (Image: Decibellas)

Conductor and mezzo-soprano, Liv Westhead, from Hartford, joined the Decibellas team in September. 

The 30-year-old cut her musical teeth with Cheshire Youth Choir, before going on to do a degree in popular music and recording.

She then studied classical singing at the London College of Music, and earlier this year, took over as conductor of the Vale Royal Junior Choir for kids aged seven to 14.

Liv says she’s had a ‘wonderful welcome’ from the ladies, adding: “They’ve been so friendly, kind, and supportive.

“But being the new girl is always daunting, especially when it’s your job to be stood there in from of such a massive group of people, with all eyes on you.  

Northwich Guardian: Decibellas Christmas concert takes place on Saturday, December 9Decibellas Christmas concert takes place on Saturday, December 9 (Image: Decibellas)

“It’s quite a big step up for me. Decibellas has about 75 ladies on the books, and I’ve only worked with a junior choir before.

“The ladies are just brilliant. They started out as a community choir, but the way they’ve come on under the direction of Marcus has been phenomenal.

“They’re really responsive. I ask if we can try a phrase or passage in a certain way, and they’re totally up for it every time.”

Liv explained even though Christmas is when choirs work their hardest, it’s also the season when they really come into their own.

“Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas with carols,” Liv added.

“We’re working super-hard on our festive programme at the moment.

“It’s a great line-up, and a real mixed bag of traditional and modern.

“We’ve been working on Carol of the Bells a lot, which people might know as the one from Home Alone.

“Getting the words right is a real challenge, but it’s also really fun.

“We do an interesting version of Jingle Bells too, which plays with the melody and has some really cool harmonies.

“It’s such a simple song, but the way we do it is really special.”

Decibellas annual Christmas concert is at St Boniface Church, Bunbury, on Saturday, December 9, 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children, and are available through the Decibellas website.