Christmas is certainly a busy time of year for our musicians, but also a time of wonderful St Helen’s traditions and these were celebrated again this year. On the penultimate Friday of term the Junior Department performed their Christmas production in chapel, followed by a seasonal Tea Concert complete with Santa hats and reindeer antlers, Winter Wonderland and All I Want for Christmas is You.
On Sunday 10 December members of Cantores and Chapel Choir were scheduled to perform in the Sheldonian Theatre alongside the City of Oxford Orchestra in their annual Christmas concert. This was, of course, the day that the snow arrived, so only 11 girls (out of 52) managed to attend the concert. Nevertheless, they performed heroically and filled the beautiful theatre with the strains of Zadok the Priest and The Shepherd’s Farewell along with traditional carols.
Tuesday brought our much loved Carols Around The World, culminating in everyone’s favourite Ande, Ande, Ande, steered to its conclusion by some magnificent dexterity on the flute by Jess Ferguson, L6C. After musical interludes in the GCSE certificate presentation, the evening ended with the glorious sound of Chapel Choir leading the Nine Lessons and Carols, which began so magically with the solo verse of Once In Royal David’s City beautifully sung by our Head Chorister, Bethan Kelly, U6D.
Wednesday saw a change of direction with Big Band performing in assembly – music included Let It Snow and Santa Claus is Coming to Town – and the School learning to sing the winning entry in this year’s Christmas carol composition competition, written by Elizabeth Dallosso, 8L.
During School Christmas lunch the brass band provided an accompaniment of carols, whilst the evening’s entertainment was the Strings’ Concert, subtitled ‘A Night At the Movies’ which provided wonderful performances from soloists and ensembles, alongside plenty of popcorn!
On Thursday, Lower School Choir led the Christingle service with powerful and mature singing and the Year 8 Bridgewood Quartet played a beautiful arrangement of The Rocking Carol during the lighting of the Christingles.
Term ended on Friday with the traditional final assembly, in which First Orchestra led the whole school in Christmas carols, as well as performing Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Festival and Sleigh Ride to send everyone on their way in a suitably festive mood.