Tuesday, 06 December 2016
The Junior Girls presented a ‘Winter Warmer’ as their annual Christmas concert this year. Pupils gave it their all in two memorable performances in the Girls’ Division Great Hall, blending music, song, narration and poetry to create a truly special festive occasion.
The Flute Choir opened proceedings with an enchanting rendition of ‘Walking in the Air’ while the rest of the Junior Girls processed into the Great Hall, all bundled up in jumpers, scarves, woolly hats and gloves, and carrying candle-lights and paper poinsettias.
After a brief Christmas Welcome, a group of girls recited the poem ‘Sir Winter’ by Jean Kenward, which truly encapsulated the season and was a fitting beginning for the concert itself. Hesketh House Choir transitioned from autumn to winter with the song ‘Something Told the Wild Geese’, while a group of pupils danced as the geese.
The programme then continued with a series of items linked by loose themes.
A series of poems, songs and narration focused on Christmas and the traditions of the season began with the poem ‘Country Carol’ by Sue Cowling. The Year 3 pupils danced to the jolly song ‘Silver Sleigh Ride’, sung by all of the Junior Girls, with pupils wearing reindeer antlers and jingling sleigh-bells up and down the centre aisle. This blended seamlessly into Christmas decorations, with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert making an appearance for the poem ‘Christmas Tree at Windsor’ by Eric Finney. The girls sang ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ by Lin Marsh, and then a group of pupils performed the poem ‘Ten Little Christmas Trees’ by Rodney Bennett, while dressed as the trees themselves!
Following on from decorations, the girls reminded the audience of the delicious food that is eaten at Christmas, talking about Christmas pudding and singing the ‘Mince Pie Calypso’. They also mentioned crackers and sang ‘I’m a Little Christmas Cracker’, complete with a giant cracker which they pretended to pull at the front of the Hall!
The girls then talked about Christmas plants: not limited to the fir trees, holly and mistletoe, they sang the traditional Mexican song ‘La Marimorena’ about the poinsettia, and talked about Christmas around the world. They also sang ‘Le Facteur’, a French song about the postman, as the perfect person to deliver letters to Father Christmas.
With the letters delivered and Christmas Day on the way, the subject of presents dominated the next section of the concert, with the girls talking about gifts and stockings.
However, as the girls recalled Christmas Bells, the true meaning of Christmas became the focus once again. The girls sang ‘Love Shone Down’ and ‘Diamond Bright’, featuring a Nativity tableau and sung by candlelight.
The poem ‘Christmas Glow’ brought together all the elements of the concert and of Christmas: the decorations, the food, the plants and the story of the Nativity, in beautiful words as the concert began to draw to a close.
The singing of ‘Christmas Cheer’ and recitation of the poem ‘Puppies’ Christmas’ made for a light-hearted ending to the concert before the finale: the song ‘That’s What Christmas Means To Me’.
A huge number of pupils contributed individually as soloists, narrators, choristers, musicians, dancers and choral speakers, and girls also created the artwork for the programme. A number of girls accompanied the singing in several pieces with percussion. All of the girls gave wonderful performances which helped to make the ‘Winter Warmer’ Christmas concert a joyful celebration.
A retiring collection was held for the charity Retrak, which enables street children in Africa and Brazil to have a real alternative to life on the streets by providing healthcare, refuge and education, allowing children to realise their potential and discover their worth. The Junior Girls chose to support Retrak this Christmas after learning all about the charity earlier in the term.
The whole of the Junior Girls’ ‘Winter Warmer’ concert is available to watch online: Part One, Part Two.
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