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News > School > Carol Service 2019 - fifty years at St Martin's

Carol Service 2019 - fifty years at St Martin's

17 Dec 2019
On 15 December 1969 the school held its Carol Service at St Martin-in-the-Fields for the first time.

Long gone are the days of hiring a private tube train to transport students from Acton, where the school was based until its move to Elstree in 1974, but many things do remain the same. The readings follow the same pattern and are read by the same groups representing different parts of the school community. The musical choices for today’s service recall many of the items performed at the service in 1969 when the carols It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, Silent Night and Wake O Wake were all used – indeed, Wake O Wake has been sung at every Carol Service since.

Also in common with the 1969 service, St Catherine Singers will sing Walford Davies’ setting of O Little Town Of Bethlehem and all the choirs will join together at the end of the service to sing John Rutter’s Shepherd’s Pipe Carol. Written only three years previously in 1966,
John Rutter’s upbeat and jazzy carol recalling the piping of a shepherd boy as he travels to visit the infant Jesus in Bethlehem has become a mainstay of every choir’s Christmas repertoire ever since – an indication, perhaps, of the creative, forward-looking and innovative attitude of the school back then in 1969.

As ever, we are grateful to St Martin-in-the-Fields for allowing us to continue this most special of school traditions – here’s to another fifty years at St Martin’s.


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