Pupils from two schools in Wheathampstead enjoyed the Christmas story of the Three Wise Men during their end of term assembly.

At Beech Hyde and St Helen’s, Melchior, Hugh L’Estrange, told the children about a wonderful New Year’s musical event.

Families are now being invited to enjoy the performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors, making full use of the Grade I listed St Helen’s Church in Wheathampstead.

Billed as a community opera, it is directed by Tim Armstrong Taylor, David Ireson as musical director, who directed “Alban” in the Cathedral in 2009.

The lovely story of the effect the ‘Three Kings’ could have had on a small, thoughtful boy during their travels to the Bethlehem Stable was composed, with an English libretto, by Gian-Carlo Menotti.

Mr Menotti once said: “This is an opera for children because it tries to recapture my own childhood. ... in Italy we have no Santa Claus.

“I suppose that Santa Claus is much too busy with American children to be able to handle Italian children as well. Our gifts were brought to us by the Three Kings, instead.” And Amahl receives a most wonderful gift from the ‘Kings’.

As well as local musicians, two singers and dancers, two local boy sopranos share the lead in performances and Amahl’s mother is sung by Deborah Davison, a member of English National Opera.

Perfomances will take place in the New Year on Thursday, January 9 and Friday, January 10 at 7.30pm, and 7pm on Saturday, January 11.

There will also be a special schools performance at 5pm on the Saturday.

Tickets will be available by contacting 01582 627209 or j.golesworthy@virginmedia.com or from Frosts estate agents Wheathampstead office.