Our annual festive Service in Preparation for Christmas was once again held over two days in the magnificent Chapel of St John’s College. A range of carols, poems and readings were presented by St John’s children. The carols and readings were interspersed with five congregational hymns, including O come, all ye faithful, Hark! the herald-angels sing, O little town of Bethlehem, Lo! He comes with clouds descending and O come, O come, Emmanuel!. The Services provided a sense of calm away from the bustle that the festive time of the year brings and gave those watching a chance to stop and reflect before Christmas.
Before the service, organ music was played by Senior House pupils: Aiden Wee (Form 4), Amelia Crichton-Stuart (Form 5), Charlie Lipscomb, Kevin Ke and Gabriel Gritten (all Form 6). They performed repertoire by J S Bach and Jeanne Demessieux.
"It is a wonderful opportunity for our organists to be able to play the organ in Chapel as part of such special Services.”
The choral carols offered a wide selection of music performed beautifully by over one hundred children from a range of choirs including the Choristers of the College Choir, Senior House Chamber Choir, Third and Fourth Forms' Choir, Junior Choir and Byron House Chamber Choir. The readings, a range of poems and lessons, were delivered by the Form 6 children. The readers excelled themselves and each one read beautifully to tell the Christmas story.
The retiring collection raised £839 for this year’s Parents’ Association Charities – Blue Smile, Colours of Dance Radiates and the Karen Morris Memorial Trust.
Blue Smile is a mental health charity which provides counselling and therapy for pupils in Cambridgeshire schools between the ages of 3 and 13, during a critical window of opportunity for change. The service is designed to complement each school's pastoral provision and to deliver the kind of specialist early intervention which prevents longer-term emotional and behavioural problems. They use arts-based therapies to help children organise their feelings and process traumatic experiences.
Colours of Dance Radiates is a charity which goes into Castle School to teach movement and music to children with special educational needs, medical needs and social and behavioural challenges. Funding for this was cut during the pandemic, so this charity makes an unbelievable difference to the children at Castle School.
The Karen Morris Memorial Trust was launched to support patients with leukaemia and their families. To date, they have raised over £3.5M, supported six complementary members of haematology staff and they currently fund four Karen's Homes from Home to provide a nurturing and caring environment for leukaemia patients and their families to stay in, while receiving potentially lifesaving treatment, at hospitals around the UK, with the fifth scheduled to open in late 2024.