A Christmas Festival of Music and Words
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
A rousing rendition of Once in Royal David’s City sung by Choir and Congregation opened the Boys’ Division Christmas Festival and the tone was set for the evening! Classic Christmas carols were inter-twined with emotive readings and reflections from pupils of all ages as well as some less familiar but wonderful festive songs.
The packed congregation played its part too, standing to join in many of the Christmas favourites including O Little Town of Bethlehem, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! While Shepherds Watched, Mary’s Boy Child, Shine Jesus Shine and O Come, all ye Faithful!
Hundreds of voices sang out from several choirs as they offered up stirring performances on the evening, including the Junior Choir, the Chamber Choir and the Senior School Choir and they were accompanied by the 80-strong School Orchestra. Choir-only classics included Bethlehem, Sing We Now of Christmas, Bethlehem Spiritual, Ding Dong! Merrily on High, Creator of the Stars of Night and Christmas Lullaby.
Mrs Fox had carefully chosen a selection of readings for the boys, ranging from the biblical to the contemporary, which resonated with themes from the School year. Andrew Clelland’s reflection Christmas 1914 reminded the gathering of darker times one hundred years ago when fighting on the Western front paused briefly for the troops to mark Christmas and to enjoy a game of football. There were also readings from Isaiah, Luke, Hebrews, John, Bishop Remington, the Scripture Union and of the Advent Virus. Year 9 pupil George Speak closed the readings with Prayer from Barnabas children’s ministries.
Dave Bagley of Urban Outreach Bolton offered a thoughtful meditation which focussed on the words “peace” and “hope”. He reminded the audience that since World War One, wars have killed almost three times the current population of the UK (64 million) and told the audience that peace begins with the individual. Urban Outreach’s project to offer hampers to 1,000 families in need in Bolton, which the School has supported by providing 1,000 after dinner mints and crackers, offered hope and reminded people that they are not alone, even if they sometimes think they are.
Headmaster, Mr Philip Britton, closed the evening by thanking all participants and echoing Dave Bagley’s sentiment that Christmas is a time for doing, reaching out and making a difference. He then invited the audience to continue the evening with festive refreshments in the Leverhulme Suite of the new Riley Sixth Form Centre.
There was a retiring collection for Create Bolton, a Christian charity based in the town which aims to support local families and individuals.