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Choirs in Fine Voice for Ceremony of Carols

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The Ceremony of Carols in the Girls’ Division was once again an evening of tradition, reflection and beautiful music. The Chamber Choir brought in the light as they processed into the darkened Great Hall to the ‘Hodie’, before of the familiar notes of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ filled the air. After the solo from Isabella Morgan (Year 10) and the choir’s rendition of the second verse, the audience added their voices to the first of many carols.

Stunning performances from various Girls’ Division choirs were spread throughout the evening. The Joint Chamber Choir sang ‘A Little Child There Is Yborn’ and ‘The Shepherd’s Carol’, while the Senior Choir performed their renditions of the well-known carols ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ and ‘Ding Dong! Merrily On High’. The talented Accidentals sang ‘Jesus Christ the Apple Tree’ and ‘Nativity Carol’ and the Middle School Choir gave an accomplished performance of ‘The Wexford Carol’. The choirs also combined to sing two pieces that are traditionally part of every Ceremony of Carols: ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ and ‘Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar’.

This year’s readings were a mixture of poignant musings and humorous interpretations. Gabrielle Read (Year 8) began with ‘The Sceptical Shepherd’ by Godfrey Rust, which roused a chuckle with its reference to “Fake News”. Similarly, the double-act of Eva Hurst (Year 7) and Eve Blackmore (Year 9) taking on the roles of cherubim and seraphim as they read ‘Light of the World’ by Godfrey Rust and Adrian Jones amused the audience with various theatrical references to Biblical events. ‘Unity Brass Band Leicester’ by Kim Moore, read by Zakia Herez (Year 12), and ‘Les Lumières de Paris’ by Katherine Gallagher, read by Hannah McKee (Year 10), brought to life in different ways the magic of cold winter nights around Christmastime. Readings of Emily Dickinson’s ‘There’s a Certain Slant of Light’ from Mrs Kyle (Deputy Head) and Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ from Mr Michael Griffiths (Emeritus Chairman of Governors and Old Boy) encouraged contemplation, and finally Headmistress Sue Hincks gave the traditional reading from St John Chapter I before the final carol.

The evening’s prayers were also led by Miss Hincks, with assistance from the Head Girl, Deputy Head Girls and Mrs Carol Haslam, an Old Girl and former member of the Girls’ Division teaching staff who retires from her current role as Old Girls’ Liaison Officer at the end of term.

The audience was invited to join in with a number of carols during the service: ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night’, ‘Hark! The Herald-Angels Sing’, ‘The Sussex Carol’, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ which included a third verse solo from Zara Kadva (Year 8), ‘Joy to the World’ and finally, to bring the evening to a close, a rousing rendition of ‘Adeste Fideles’.

Finally, the Chamber Choir departed singing the ‘Hodie’, leaving the Great Hall once more in darkness for a moment of silence. When the lights came back up, there was a much-deserved and enthusiastic round of applause for all of the choirs, readers and members of staff who put together a magnificent festive celebration.

A charity collection was held as guests departed the Great Hall to enjoy mince pies, Christmas cake and drinks to the accompaniment of light music from the Senior String Ensemble, Senior Flute Quartet and Violin Ensemble. Old Girls were invited to congregate and many enjoyed coming together to chat, catch up and wish Mrs Haslam all the best in her retirement.


Watch a selection of performances from the Ceremony of Carols 2019 via the following links:

Hodie – Chamber Choir

In Dulci Jubilo – Senior Choir

Shepherd’s Carol – Chamber Choir

Ding Dong! Merrily On High – Senior Choir

The Wexford Carol – Middle School Choir

Nativity Carol – The Accidentals

Three Kings From Persian Lands Afar – Combined Choirs

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