WHAT a vocal year it has been for a group of singers in York.

The community choir Millegro held its debut performance 12 months ago, and has subsequently performed at the Grand Opera House and York Theatre Royal, and also took part in the 2010 Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, where the singers received a rapturous reception.

Now numbering more than 60 members, comprising amateur and trained voices from all over the York area, Millegro will be performing at the National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, next Friday and Saturday, December 17 and 18.

In keeping with their aim to offer something different, musical director Ewa Salecka and pianist Greg Birch have prepared what they describe as an unusual and diverse Christmas programme.

Featuring carols from Venezuela, South Africa, Sweden, Argentina and Spain, the concerts will also include modern arrangements of lesser-known yuletide songs, enhanced with strings and percussion.

“These evenings are intended to provide not only a refreshing alternative to the traditional Christmas fare, but something that will both complement and balance the regular musical output people will hear from many sources through the season,” say Ewa and Greg.

“After such a memorable year, it is a pleasure to be performing in this venue, and the additional string arrangements make these concerts a refreshing hour of seasonal entertainment.”

Plans are already under way to produce a Christmas album based on these concerts.

Millegro remains open to new singers and there is a particular need for male singers. Rehearsals are held every Monday in St Olave’s School, Queen Anne’s Road, and more information can be found at millegro.com

• Tickets for the Christmas concert can be bought from the centre or at ncem.co.uk

• Programmes available on the night will be sold in aid of Jessie’s Fund, a local charity which helps children with needs through the use of music.