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Christmas Festival is Live and Virtual

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There was no lessening of festive cheer and warmth as Bolton School Boys’ Division’s Christmas Festival went virtual this year. Headmaster Philip Britton anchored the event live from a socially distanced Great Hall and the evening comprised the traditional mix of congregational carols, readings, prayers and reflections, some of which were pre-recorded. 

After an invitation to worship by Y13 student Nathan Burudi, ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ proved the popular curtain-raiser that it always is and undoubtedly had Zoom viewers at home delightedly lending their voices. Henry Hughes of Y7 offered a confident and delightful solo rendition of the first verse.  This was followed by the initial reading of the evening from Jeremiah 23: v5-6, which was read by Y7 boy Dhilan Jacobs; then came ‘The Advent Virus’, a reflection by Y13 student Thomas Higham. 

Girls’ voices were added to the evening with the Joint Chamber Choir’s wonderful rendering of ‘Baby in an Ox’s Stall’ before Y8’s Luke McGuigan Lazo made a reading from Luke I: v26-33 and Christopher Ejeh of Y7 offered the reflection ‘Christmas Thoughts’. 

Choirs, in appropriate year group bubbles, sang a joyous ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!’ before James Wilson (Y8) also read from the Book of Luke, choosing ‘The Magnificat’ v46-55 and Alex Chadwick (Y7) gave a reflection on ‘All Those Amazing Dreams’. The Senior Concert Band then played an upbeat and life-affirming version of ‘Shine Bright’. 

The fourth reading of the evening was read by Ed Goodfellow, a Y8 pupil and was of Matthew II: v1-3 and v7-12. Bomi Shodipo from Y7 followed this with the reflection ‘The Work of Christmas Begins’. The Chamber Choir Boys offered an ethereal and spiritual singing of ‘Carol of Winter Peace’. 

Headmaster Mr Britton read from John I: v1-14 before Y13 student Jude Ashcroft delivered ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – An Advent Reflection’. The Senior Concert Band then returned to centre stage playing a very festive and foot-tapping ‘Feliz Navidad’. 

The special guest for the evening was Rev. Dave Brae, the Associate Minister at St Peter’s Halliwell and Young Adults Pioneer in Bolton town centre and he offered the audience a meditation which focused on Joseph, one of the heroes of scripture that, he believes, is often overlooked. He told the boys that reflecting on the story of Joseph should teach them about honour, humility and resilience as they grow up. 

Y7 boy Leo Simpson read ‘A Prayer for Christmas’ before the ceremony ended, as is traditional, with an uplifting singing of ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful!’. The retiring collection, online this year, was for Barnardos and Create Boltones, which offers an opportunity for people with a learning disability to play music and have fun.

You can relive the entire carol service here


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