For many years, Saint Andrew’s School has celebrated the Festival of Lessons and Carols as an Episcopal tradition. On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, our three school divisions will gather individually in honor of this special occasion.
Lessons and Carols Services
JK-Grade 1 - Tuesday, December 11 at 9:15 am
Grades 2-5 - Wednesday, December 12 at 9:00 am
Middle School - Wednesday, December 12 at 1:30 pm
Upper School - Wednesday, December 12 at 10:35 am
Services are held in the Chapel of Saint Andrew
The first service is for JK-Grade 1 students and will be held on Tuesday, December 11 from 9:15 to 9:45 am, in the Chapel of Saint Andrew. This service will involve a good deal of student participation and is somewhat closer in character to a pageant. “Students in junior kindergarten-grade 1 dress up in costumes for this service. JK students will be wearing white and dressing as angels, Kindergarten students will be shepherds in a brown or dark bathrobe, and grade 1 students will be wise people wearing capes and crowns,” said Lower School Chaplain, Faye Somers.
The second service of Lessons and Carols for Grades 2-5 will be held on Wednesday, December 12 from 9:00 to 10:00 am in the Chapel of Saint Andrew. This service will be more traditional in character, and reflective of these grades’ increasing maturity and leadership in the Lower School division.
“In the Lower School Grade 2-5 service, over 250 voices will join by singing special music,” said Lisa Moss Piano Instructor, Accompanist, and proud Saint Andrew’s School parent.
The Upper School Lessons and Carols service is Wednesday, December 12 at 10:35 am, while the Middle School service is later that day at 1:30 pm. “This time-honored and sacred tradition at our school is also an opportunity for Upper School and Middle School choirs to combine and sing at services for all three divisions,” said Nick LaCasse, Director of Performing Arts.
“We also have numerous additions to this year's service as we are providing opportunities for our student instrumentalists to accompany our combined choirs, plus the Percussion, Guitar, and String Ensembles,” he added.
The Festival of Lessons & Carols is a service that dates backs to 1880 in the Anglican communion, and it became a fixture in the Episcopal Church in the early 20th century. The Lessons and Carols tradition began in the Church of England with a service at King’s College in Cambridge, held on Christmas Eve in 1918. Traditionally in this service, Advent hymns, Christmas carols, and readings from the Bible are blended to tell the story of humanity’s creation, fall, longing for redemption and salvation in the birth of the Christ child at Bethlehem.
“It is our desire to help make the religious life of Saint Andrew’s School reflective of the various contexts of our large and diverse school while keeping to the core Episcopal ethos,” said Father Charles Browing, Head Chaplain of Saint Andrew’s School. “Christmas is a beloved time in Episcopal Christianity, where we celebrate God becoming Incarnate on that holiest of nights.”
During each of three divisional services, students and faculty offer nine lessons from scripture punctuated with hymns and carols, including O Little Town of Bethlehem, Hark the Herald Angels, and Joy to the World. Applause is always held to maintain a spirit of reverence.
The services, which connect and celebrate the Episcopal faith and the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, certainly help to ignite the holiday spirit on campus by offering a renewed appreciation of the beloved Christmas story.