Lessons and Carols

Lessons and Carols, an annual choir performance that takes place before Winter break, is a tradition that originated in England. The school incorporated this as a yearly tradition in 1953. Centered around the nativity story of Christmas, the performance includes readings, music and audience participation. In past years, students have illuminated the darkened Chapel with lit candles. 

  Due to the pandemic, last year’s Lessons and Carols was virtual. This year’s festival took place in Elfers Hall on Tuesday, December 7. With this switch in location, the performance will not be able to use the pipe organ to accompany the singing. Instead, student instrumentalists and a professional brass quintet invited by the school performed. While Lessons and Carols this year looked very different, the iconic candles were lit, including a moment where Elfers went completely dark as Mr. Craig Bradley, head of school, read the final reading under the glow of a single candle. When asked about why they thought Lessons and Carols was an important tradition, Abby Broome ’25 said, “It’s a good thing to appreciate Christmas, to appreciate each other and share music that we’ve been working on with the community. [It’s an opportunity for the school to] come together and experience [it] with one another”.

Although the festival has had few changes throughout the decades, Mr. Jack Brown, chorus director and organizer of Lessons and Carols, said, “I never repeat the same music year to year. Sometimes I’ll go back and find something that I like from five years ago. The creative part for me is to find music that’s fresh. We [also] had some very ancient music that is 100 years old. This year we included an arrangement called ‘Mary Did you Know’, a pop Nashville kind of piece”.