School in Fine Voice for Christmas Festival
Boys' Division Music

Hundreds gathered in the Great Hall of the Boys’ Division at Bolton School for this year’s Christmas Festival of Carols. Head Nic Ford welcomed guests, who were quickly on their feet to give rousing vocal support to the banks of choirs, along with a full orchestra, as they sang Once in Royal David’s City. The festive celebration was punctuated with seasonal readings, reflections and prayers, the first being from Isaiah 9: v2, 6-7 from Christopher Ejeh, which was followed by Earthed read by Noah Spielmann. It was then the turn of the Joint Chamber Choir to deliver an enchanting version of In the Stillness.

The congregation was again on its feet to join in with See Amid the Winter’s Snow and the second reading of the evening came from Daniel Keene from Luke 1: v26-33; the second reflection A Mother’s Love came from Alex Pierson. A school favourite Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! saw enthusiastic contributions from the choir of pupils, staff and friends of the school and from the audience alike before Joshua Pilkington read Luke 2: v15-20 and Tristan Bennett read the reflection Curious. The Lower School Choir sang an endearing The Christmas Star.

After a rousing rendition of Joy to the World! Head of Foundation Philip Britton read John 1: v1-14 and Freddie Bovill read the reflection Christmas. There followed a bewitching interpretation of Overture and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker Suite by a String Quartet of Harry Adams, Marcus Fung, Tom Williamson and Matthew Yeung.

Another Carol Service favourite, Mary’s Boy Child, saw everyone back on their feet to back the soloists William Martin, Priyesh Fernando and Zach Campbell-Robinson. The fifth reading of the evening also came from the Gospel of John 4: v7-9 and was read by Ashton Morrissey; the accompanying reflection, I am Wishing You this Day, was from Tanmay Gokul. The Boys’ Chamber Choir was then joined by oboist James Bland in delivering There is Faint Music.

Shine Jesus Shine was delivered with the usual seasonal gusto before the Reverend Dave Thompson, Vicar of Christ Church Heaton used the allegory of a lost clutch of birds in a storm to remind us how God offers us direction. He also told how the true gift of Christmas does not come wrapped in ribbons but that it is the gift of God and his son, Jesus Christ.

Once more, the Chamber Choir was in fine voice as they sang Where Riches is Everlastingly. The final prayer, Christian Aid, was read by Dhilan Jacobs.

The evening closed out with an uplifting O Come, all ye Faithful! and there was a retiring collection for Urban Outreach and the YMCA as guests enjoyed refreshments in the Riley Centre.

Watch the service in full again here.

A gallery of photos is below:

Boys' Division Christmas Festival 2023

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