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With hundreds of candles glimmering in the dark, the scene was set for the school’s annual Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at St Mary’s Parish Church.

Ever-popular, parents, staff, girls and supporters gathered in the ancient church to celebrate the oncoming festive season with traditional carols, Bible readings, and an array of musical items. To start, Elan sang the first verse of the opening carol, Once in Royal David’s City, beautifully, from the West end of the church. The first of the ensemble items took the form of movements from the Christmas Concerto by Corelli, played by the String Quartet. Three choir items followed: a reflective piece by Whitacre called Glow, performed by Junior Consort, describing illumination ‘setting the earth aglow’. LIV (Year 7) Choir sang Traveller’s Tale, a re-telling of the nativity story to a lively, rhythmic melody. The final choral offering was performed by Chamber Choir: a spine-tingling setting which foretells of Jesus’ crucifixion with the dual symbolism of the gifts (myrrh for its sweetness, but also for its traditional use - embalming the dead). The arrangement of Warlock’s setting was specially written for the choir by our Organist and Head of Keyboard Studies, Mr Chris Totney, who set the tone for the service with voluntaries by Bach beforehand, and concluded the proceedings with Paean by Philip Moore.

Mrs Rebecca Cavill, Director of Music