Reflections and Carols
The annual Christmas Evening Meeting is usually an opportunity for the community to join together in Main Hall and reflect on the joy of Christmas with silence as is the Quaker way, listen to festive readings and hear beautiful carols sung by our talented students. Although this year we have not been able to meet up for our traditional gathering, the Music and Drama departments have brought Christmas Evening Meeting to the homes of our students, staff, parents, Old Leightonians and friends of Leighton Park through a Google Premiere, sharing the sounds and silences of the evening in a virtual format. The time and date, always 7.00pm on the last Sunday night before the end of term, were honoured and the audience were able to enjoy an experience as close to their annual treat as possible in these unprecedented times.
In advance of the webcast, Rosemary Scales, Director of Music enthused, “Christmas Evening Meeting is a beautiful, peaceful adaption of a tradition carol service, which includes readings, music and carols with opportunities for reflective silences etc. We have been filming readers and performances as best we can and we have also gone back into the archives for some larger ensembles and used some items from Christmas 2016 and 2018 (including some shots of our current Year 11 as Fryers!). Many from the LP community always say that it feels like Christmas has arrived once they hear Christmas Evening Meeting!”
The evening began with a lovely Christmas Medley by Eliza (Year 9) on the harp followed archived footage of Fryer voices, Senior Choir and the Orchestra in full swing from previous years as the musicians have been enjoying singing and playing separately in their year group bubbles this term. It was interesting to look back at some younger versions of our current students, reminding us of the journey that they have been on over the last few years and how they have grown, physically, academically and emotionally, during their time at the School. There were new recordings from all the readers, seasonally lit in red and green, and a performance by the Lower Sixth Chamber Choir singing ‘Lully Lulla Lullay’. There were even congregational songs with the words provided to enable the audience to add their voices to the event and sing from home. The meeting concluded with Head, Matthew Judd, reading the prayer of St Francis of Assissi followed by a moment of silence.
As one of our parents kindly commented, “I did enjoy being able to watch the Christmas Evening Meeting online last night. So beautiful but amazing how you kept it inclusive whilst also about the real meaning of Christmas. Really enjoyed it.”
Sunday’s event was followed up with a lunchtime session of festive favourites today as members of year group bubbles from Orchestra spread some socially distanced music across the Park from the terrace of the Michael Malnick Centre for Music and Media.