All the trimmings! A festive final week

All the trimmings! A festive final week

The Autumn Term ended in seasonal style, with the parish church echoing to the traditional sounds of the carol service and with the Christmas lunch proving more popular than ever.

The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols featured not only congregational singing of familiar favourites, but also some lesser-known Christmas music from the School Choir and Chamber Choir. Senior staff and boys from throughout the School delivered the readings, culminating in Headmaster Neil Enright reading the Prologue to St John’s Gospel.

Christmas lunch was served to all who requested it – and well over 800 boys and staff took up the option of hand-carved British turkey with all the trimmings (or a vegetarian alternative), with yule log or Christmas pudding to follow, as well as other treats from the catering team. The figure is believed to be a record, in recent years at least.

For Years 10 and 11, there was the added bonus of eating the meal in the pristine surroundings of the Mayes Atrium Café – part of the new Music School complex, which is due to be officially opened next term. The facility, built on the site of the previous Mayes Building, is named in honour of Harry ‘Curly’ Mayes, who served the School as butler, porter, steward and caretaker for 60 years, from 1902 to 1962.

Mr Enright said: “These festive traditions are an important facet of life at Queen Elizabeth’s School, and I am pleased that we were able to go ahead with them this year, albeit with measures put in place to protect everyone as the national Covid situation changed rapidly in the run-up to the end of term.”

The choral pieces at the carol service included:

  • In the stillness, by Sally Beamish
  • Masters in this hall, to an old French melody arranged by Gustav Holst
  • Gaudete from Piae Cantiones, arranged by Michael Engelhardt
  • Angelus ad virginem, a 14th-century Irish carol, arranged by David Willcocks
  • Tomorrow shall be my dancing day, by John Gardner
  • O little town, by Bob Chilcott, arranged by Daniel Bishop.

The congregation sang: Once in royal David’s city; O, Come all ye faithful; Away in a manger God rest you merry gentlemen, and Hark! the herald angels sing.