Annual service includes all faiths

 

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By Joyce Kim

The annual Christmas Convocation: Service of Nine Lessons and Carols was held in St. Saviour’s Chapel on Dec. 13.

Although this was a Christian service, members of all faiths were welcome to attend. The service has been conducted in St. Saviour’s Chapel for decades, even before the merger of Harvard and Westlake.

“The service is particularly beautiful because it takes place in such a historic place on our campus,” junior prefect Christopher Holthouse ’11 said.

The congregation rose from their seats as school chaplain Father J. Young came in reciting a prayer to begin the service.

The Madrigals followed Young’s prayer with a hymn. Candles in hand, the Madrigals walked into the service from outside the chapel in two rows, led by middle school choir director Nina Burtchaell, and accompanist Chris Wong.

They sang the hymn “O come O come Emmanuel” along with the rest of the congregation.

The service included readings from scriptures, communal singing of hymns and a series of musical offerings from both the upper and middle school performing arts departments.

Prefects, the President of the Parents’ Association Laurie Ember, Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts and President Thomas C. Hudnut each recited a scripture from different chapters of the Bible.

In between each reading was either a hymn or a student performance.

The Madrigals sang three songs from their own repertoire: “Adoramus Te” (We Adore Thee), “This Christmastide,” and “Follow That Star.”

“The significance is all about the H-W Choral Program existing as a part of the spiritual and communal life of the school,” Burtchaell said. “The students who sing these services learn so much about what the gift of music brings to life.”

Burtchaell felt it was more than a religious service.

“[The Convocation] is not about religion, but about acceptance, understanding, community and sharing,” Burtchaell said.

Following the service, a reception was held in Feldman-Horn Gallery.

 

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