How sound engineering plays a role in Fenwick’s Christmas Display Window 2023

It has just been announced by Newcastle United that Fenwick is to be the football club’s official luxury retail partner!  

Now, with a great disdain for football, this isn’t all that important to me this Holiday season haha 

Personally, I get my rocks off on the department store’s annual Christmas display

Each year, Newcastle locals await the arrival of Fenwicks display window for the winter season – and this year is no different 

The high-end shop was originally opened in Newcastle, so it’s no surprise that they like to peacock around this time of year, after all, it is their flagship store 

What is intriguing is how they emulate their chosen theme each year in their auditory choices, to ensure that the Christmas vibes are felt on the busy Northumberland Street

We will be taking a dive into some of the choices made for their ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ display window; how are they teleporting tourists, as well as locals across the city into the wonderful land of Narnia? 

(Anyone Fancy a Turkish Delight?) 

To my surprise, I have discovered that Santa will be appearing on Fenwicks rooftop ‘suite’ we’ll call it… and of course this is all part of the epic festive showing Fenwick has become notorious for 

Between me and you, I thought Santa only came once a year (if you catch my drift)! 

The Fenwick’s website states that on the rooftop you can find ‘Santa’s singing reindeer setting the mood’ 

Okay, so I’m not keen on corporate bull***t, and refused to get tickets for the event, but it’s important to note that it all comes to life largely by musical choices and sound scaping to encapsulate that Christmas Joy we all long for 

Now come on the journey with me to explore the best ways that Narnia has been encapsulated by Fenwicks! 

Okay picture it: Northumberland Street is engulfed by the hustle and bustle of 9 to 5 workers, buskers are stoic in their presentation of musical styling, the sun is beginning to caress the buildings as it sets

Queues of people are collected by Fenwick’s smiles beaming ear to ear at the sheer excellence of the almost frosted glass

As you pass the building, you hear the music building in a crescendo. The storyline really fleshed itself out in its inclusion of cowbells

Spoken word pieces, which seemed to come straight out of the movie, really stood out and sold the story to me like snow to the Inuit’s.

The synergy of sounds that can be heard radiating from Fenwick’s can be described as a ‘Soundscape’

‘The concept of soundscape, in fact, explicitly includes a subjective component’ meaning that the sounds you can hear are understood by certain codes.

Now the department store has emulated the fantastical world of Narnia through using bright, almost metallic vocals. This was one of the best decisions they could have made as it very simply highlights that Christmas is generally a joyous time

Not to mention that the scenery of Narnia is largely bright per the movie and so the soundscape holds integrity to the thing it is representing.

The choice to have the volume building as you go down the line of windows is also very important as it tells a narrative almost purely through sound – I mean we all know the ending of a film is usually the most grandiose

Below is a snippet of the sounds that can be heard by the final window:

The score of sorts was put together by The Glasshouse International Centre for Music, an organisation based just over the Tyne bridge.

The Royal Northern Sinfonia played a major role in creating the perfect Narnia experience, and are setting up to continue with the musical Xmas extravaganza at their ‘Home Alone in Concert’ event this weekend!

Overall, the display window has been very succinct in spreading the festive joy this year because of the choices made to represent Narnia through music!

Hope this has struck a chord with all of you! I’d love to hear your own experience with this year’s display and Christmas in Newcastle more broadly 🙂

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