Our festive ‘Services in Preparation for Christmas’, held over two days in the magnificent Chapel of St John’s College, once again heralded the start of the season with a range of carols, poems and readings all presented by the children. The carols and readings were interspersed with 5 congregational hymns. The Services provided a sense of calm from the busy nature of this time of the year and created up a contemplative mood to help prepare for Christmas.
Before and after the services, organ music was played by Senior House pupils: Thomas Watkin (Year 7) and Jaylen Cheng (Year 8) performed seasonal repertoire by Grayston Ives, Hubert Parry, Kenneth Leighton, Herbert Murrill, Dieterich Buxtehude, Percy Whitlock and J S Bach. Director of Music, Mr Simon Kirk, explained, “It is truly remarkable that these two organists were able to put together such a programme and to perform it to such a high standard; many senior schools would have been proud of this offering.”
The 11 carols offered a wide selection of music performed beautifully by 160 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. Amongst the highlights was the final carol, Bob Chilcott’s arrangement of This Joy, sung with great energy by all 160 children.
The 14 readings, a range of poems and lessons, were delivered by the Sixth Form children. The readers excelled themselves and each one read beautifully to tell the Christmas story to the congregation.
A St John’s parent remarked about the Services, “Thank you for the most beautiful services of the two last days. This event is one I have grown to truly enjoy and look forward to and no doubt, will miss when the children leave St John's." Another parent noted, “The programme was beautifully thought through, the readings clear and intelligent and - of course - the music-making exceptional. It was wonderful that so many different groups were involved.”
The retiring collection was taken in aid of the following charities:
Eddie’s http://www.eddies.org.uk/ Eddie’s is an award-winning charity based in Waterbeach. They have been supporting people with learning disabilities in Cambridgeshire for over ten years and used to be part of Cambridgeshire Mencap. Their history spans 70 years. Eddie’s vision is a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included. They want everyone to have the opportunity to achieve the things they want out of life. Eddie’s is an important local provider of community services and support to children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and family carers in Cambridgeshire. They aim to help the people they support with increased confidence, more effective social inclusion, improved skills, and reduced financial and social hardship. Their community-based activities help people with learning disabilities to do the things they enjoy, make new friends and learn new skills.
Jimmy’s Cambridge http://www.jimmyscambridge.org.uk/ For over 20 years, Jimmy’s has been providing help for the homeless in Cambridge. They work with the local community, volunteers and partner agencies to deliver 24/7 emergency accommodation and supported housing for those who would otherwise be homeless or vulnerably housed.
A copy of the Order of Service is available to download .