17.12.14 : Christmas at St Leonards

The end of the Autumn term at St Leonards is filled with wonderful Christmas events to get the whole school community into the festive spirit. From the Christmas Fair that sees local artisans and businesses put on an impressive display to help you find a present for even the most challenging member of the family, to the Junior School Nativity play there’s something for everyone! This year the Junior School treated audiences to a hilarious adaptation of the traditional tale.  There was some splendid singing and all the pupils performed like stars!

The beginning of the Music Department’s Christmas festivities started with an outstanding evening of music at The Byre Theatre in The Xmas Mix 2014.  As well as our regular favourites of the staff/pupil rendition of White Christmas and our key jangling Sleigh Ride – with coconuts provided by Dr Jenkins! – we had Debussy’s Clair de Lune played by Roo Brown and O Holy Night beautifully sung by Ilona McLean. The Flute & Clarinet Choirs both performed, as well as the Show Choir (Santa Baby en masse!), Jazz Band and Love’s Angels.  It was the final Xmas Mix for both Tilda Hayward-Daventry and Flo Fowler and both went out on a high.  The musical highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the virtuosic three part harmony, swing rendition of Jingle Bells by Olivia Carslaw, Ines Hayward -Daventry and Ilona McLean – hereby dubbed ‘The Belles’.  It was great to be back in The Byre Theatre again this year and everyone is already looking forward to next years Mix!

The music department also helped to create the most magical Carol Service.  A Service of Nine Lessons and Carols in Holy Trinity Church in front of the whole of the Senior School, parents, teachers and Seniors. The nine readings were given by a representative from each year group in the Senior School, including Head Boy Curtis Stiles and Head Girl Eilidh Baird. The Headmaster and James Murray, Chairman of Council also gave readings. The whole congregation was in fine voice and the choir gave some beautiful renditions of some favourite carols including Ave Maria which featured a solo soprano saxophone from Oliver Eve and a stunning version of ‘In the bleak midwinter’.

St Leonards celebrated the feast day of St Nicholas with our annual Sankt Nikolaus service held in the St Leonards Chapel. The atmospheric candlelit service is an opportunity for our German speaking students, many of whom are boarders and far from home, to celebrate this special day which heralds the start of Christmas celebrations for German families.

The service, organised by our fantastic German department and our students themselves, was conducted entirely in German and included readings and musical performances by students in their native tongue. The service was led in German by University Chaplain Rev. Dr Donald MacEwan and also attended by non-native German speakers from our School community who enthusiastically joined in with hymns such as Stille Nacht, heilige Nache! (Silent Night) and Nun freut euch ihr Christen (O come all ye faithful) accompanied by Dr Jenkins on the organ. 

The service concluded with traditional giving of gifts to friends on St Nicholas as our students served home-made German baked goods including delicious gingerbread and festive biscuits.

Another department who always make a special effort at Christmas time is the St Leonards catering team. Putting on Christmas lunch for over 650 delighted students and staff is quite a feat. There was even a visit from Santa Claus during the Junior School lunch. He was kept very busy giving out little bags of sweeties and lots of high fives!

Everyone was so merry there was impromptu carol singing and three very well deserved cheers for the catering team, for giving everyone such a treat and for all their hard work throughout the year. Before he left St Andrews, Santa Claus assured us that all the St Leonards boys and girls are on his ‘nice’ list!

On the last day of term St Leonards staff and students wrapped up warm to raise money for Save the Chidren's Xmas Jumper Day. We all enjoyed the end of term assembly with the School folk band The Flatcaps leading us in some rousing renditions of Christmas songs.

It was also a chance to say farewell and good luck to Ollerenshaw Housemaster John Taylor who is heading off to Hamilton College as their new Headmaster after the holidays. 

It was then time for everyone to say their goodbyes until next year and luckily, despite the rest of the UK being hit by ‘thundersnow’ and ‘weatherbombs’, all our students headed home safely as St Andrews has once again remained sunny throughout the weather chaos!

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