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Annabel, Former Pupil

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Boys' Joyous Christmas Celebration

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Festive fervour was well and truly delivered to the Great Hall at Bolton School Boys’ Division as hundreds of boys, across all age groups, sang joyously at the Christmas Festival of song and words. 

The evening opened with the traditional singing of Once in Royal David’s City, the first verse being offered up by the beautiful, clear voices of Year 7 boys, Theo Forshaw, James Hopkinson and Alastair Watts; they were then accompanied for the remaining verses by the Choir and the congregation. It was a rousing start to the evening, which set the tone for the rendering of Christmas favourites by a thousand voices made up of the Choir and large audience comprising parents, teachers, alumni and friends of the School. Yuletide classics included O Little Town of Bethlehem, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! Joy to the World! Mary’s Boy Child, Shine Jesus Shine and an uplifting finale of O Come, all ye Faithful! The 80-strong orchestra provided admirable backing throughout the evening.

The glorious singing was counter-balanced by thoughtful words, prayers and reflections, chosen by Head of RS Mrs Fox and read with feeling by boys of all ages.  There were biblical readings from the Books of Isaiah, Luke and John as well as more contemporary reflections, including pieces by Godfrey Rust, Alan Williams, James Allen Francis, Bono and poet U A Fanthorpe.    

The evening showcased the range of different choirs across the School and included exquisitely delivered versions of Lully, Lulla, Lullay and Mary, Did You Know? by the Chamber Choir; an arresting interpretation of The Christmas Star by the Junior Choir along with a solo by Year 7’s Max Turner; and rousing renditions of Amen! Tell it to the Mountain! and A Christmas Blessing by the School Choir. The audience were also treated to a stunning version of The Child by a trio of Year 7 boys, Anuj Mishra, Thomas Martin and Farrell Saturley.

Reverend Vincent Whitworth of St Peter’s, Halliwell gave a thoughtful address to the gathering, reflecting on the themes of love and peace and Christmas being a time for remembering those less fortunate than ourselves. He commended the great charity work going on in the town, including Urban Outreach’s campaign to assemble 1200 hampers for those in need across the borough; he also thanked the School for its contribution of crisps and pop for this cause. 

Headmaster, Mr Philip Britton, closed the evening by thanking all participants and invited the audience to join him and governors for festive refreshments in the Leverhulme Suite of the new Riley Sixth Form Centre.

You can watch some of the highlights of the Festival here:

The Junior Choir with a solo by Max Turner sing The Christmas Star

The Combined Choirs sing Amen, Tell It On The Mountain!

The Chamber Choir sing Mary, Did You Know?

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Head of Music Mr Bleasdale leads the orchestra and singing

Head of Music Mr Bleasdale leads the orchestra and singing in a rousing Once in Royal David's City - click on the photo to enlarge

Head Boy Chris Pantelides reads All Those Amazing Dreams by Alan Williams

Head Boy Chris Pantelides reads All Those Amazing Dreams by Alan Williams

The Revered Vincent Whitworth of St Peter

The Revered Vincent Whitworth of St Peter's, Halliwell offers his Meditation