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Boys Celebrate Christmas Through Words, Song and Prayer

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Headmaster Philip Britton welcomed a large gathering to this year’s Christmas Festival at Bolton School Boys’ Division.

A rousing version of Once in Royal David’s City opened the evening, the first verse being sung by Y7’s Nathan Pierson before the Choir and congregation lent their voices. The first of several readings came from Joseph Williams, also of Y7, who read Isaiah 9: v2, 6-7 and this was followed by Darragh Livesey’s (Y9) reflection Jesus (Kenneth W Osbeck). The Choir then offered up an inspiring version of Vivaldi’s Gloria before the whole congregation sang See Amid the Winter’s Snow. The Chamber Choir and the Lower School Choir then added their harmonies singing, respectively, The Shepherd’s Carol and Christmastime. Further readings – Luke 2: v1-7 came from Jonathan Featham (Y7) and Y8 pupil Isaac Lucas offered up the reflection Before the Paling of the Stars (Christina Rossetti). There were then congregational offerings of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Joy to the World interspersed with another reading from Luke 2 (v8-14) from Tolu Fatunde of Y11 and the reflection 10 Christmas Commandments read by Xuan Wang. The School Choir then performed the atmospheric Precious Child, So Sweetly Sleeping.

Old Boltonian the Reverend David Allen read from Luke 2 (v15-20) and Y9 pupil Matthew Chae read Good News (Larry Libby) before the Joint Chamber Choir sang the enchanting A Little Child There is Yborn. There was the traditional rendering of Mary’s Boy Child which saw solos from Aden Stephenson (Y13), Joshua Kay (Y12) and James Hopkinson (Y11) and some wonderful supporting voices from the Congregation for the choruses. Mr Britton read from John 1 (v1-14) and James Parfrey of Y8 offered the reflection Christmas is Really for the Children (Steve Turner) before the Senior Choir sang The Time of Snow with soloist support from William Martin and Michael Gatenby of Y8 and Suyahb Valli of Y7. Special guest for the evening was the Rector of the West Bolton Team, Reverend Stephen Trantner, who delivered an address on the importance of thinking of others and an updated and amusing 2019 version of Twas the Night Before Christmas poem which became The Night Before the Election poem!

Stirring renditions from the gathering of Shine Jesus Shine and O Come, All Ye Faithful brought the festive evening to a close. The Headmaster offered thanks to the orchestra, the choirs, the soloists, the Music teachers, Mrs Fox for choosing the readings and readers and to the Reverend Trantner for his contribution. As is traditional, refreshments were taken in the Riley Sixth Form Centre and there was a retiring collection, which raised £800, for the boys’ chosen Christmas charities.

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