By Luke Holthouse
Performances by the Middle School Madrigals and four upper school orchestra members as well as readings of nine Bible passages ushered in the holiday spirit during the Christmas Convocation: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in Saint Saviour’s Chapel last Sunday night, Dec. 11.
The traditional service featured nine Bible passages documenting the history of Christianity with music and carols such as “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angel Sings” sung between passages.
“It takes you through the whole Christian story from God’s creation in Genesis all the way to the birth of Christ,” school chaplain Father James Young said. “It’s kind of like the Christian story in Spark Notes.”
Young said that the ceremony had been an annual tradition at the Harvard School for Boys since the school was created and has continued to be a school tradition since the merger with the Westlake School for Girls.
Young said the service is meant to represent the beginning of the holiday season at school.
“For me, my Christmas doesn’t really start until right now,” Young said after the event.
Middle School Choral Director Nina Burtchaell said she has brought a choral group to perform at the service for the past 20 years.
“It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful acoustic for choral music on either campus,” Burtchaell said. “To have the opportunity to sing in Saint Saviour’s is a big treat.”
Burtchaell said that the ceremony gives many of the choir members their only opportunity to perform at a Christian service.
After the nine lessons were read by student council members from each of the six grades, Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts, Parents Association member Katie Holthouse (Chris ’10, Luke ’13, and Roman ’15) and President Thomas C. Hudnut, Young urged the congregation, which was so large that folding metal chairs had to be brought in to the chapel to seat everyone, to maintain the cheerful and giving holiday spirit every day, not just during the holidays.