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Diocese of Arundel and Brighton News Item

A&B School Sings for Advent at Westminster Cathedral

Christmas for Arundel & Brighton Diocese Woldingham School in Surrey starts with the beautiful Advent carol service held at Westminster Cathedral, in which the whole community joins to celebrate the season of Advent and the coming of Christ. The Cathedral was filled with parents, grandparents, alumnae, governors and friends. Once again we were delighted to include St Francis’ School Choir, Caterham in our service.

The choir was also joined by some former music scholars, many of whom were Head Girls or Deputy Head Girls and some of whom have excelled in their music studies at institutions such as the Royal Academy of Music.

The Senior Choir rang out from the retroquire with Hodie! and Wolcum Yole! from Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, as the procession of the Junior Choir and St Francis’ Choir made its way up the Cathedral nave.

Headmistress Alex Hutchinson, warmly welcomed everyone and Fr Gerard Devlin, Chaplain and Priest-in-Residence at Woldingham, read the opening prayer, before the readings and carols, ending with the resounding 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'; a jubilant prelude to the Christmas season.

The service was streamed live to parents and alumnae who couldn’t be at the Cathedral, with over 100 watching live in 27 countries and nearly 700 views since then. This is now the third carol service streamed live to overseas parents, forming part of an initiative to help with communications for those not always able to attend in person. Other streamed events include prize day, concerts and parent/tutor meetings.

The retiring collection this year raised over £2,000 for Shooting Star Chase, a local charity based in Guildford, providing care for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions and supporting their families.

Earlier in the day a group of students and staff visited the Cardinal Hume Centre close by and spent the morning sorting donated items for Christmas presents for the homeless. They had also brought their own gifts to donate.  They were given a guided tour and a talk about young homeless people and the role of volunteering.

Alex Hutchinson, Headmistress, said,

“This really does mark the start of Christmas for us at Woldingham. We are so grateful to those at Westminster Cathedral for helping us to celebrate in such beautiful surroundings with our wider community; the service was both an opportunity for reflection at the end of a busy term and a celebration of Woldingham’s musical talent.”