Despite the exam craze, signs of the flu and the rush to prepare for the holidays, students, faculty and parents manage to pause and enjoy the annual tradition of Candlelight.
“Candlelight is a time to step back, come together and find the peace and joy in this holiday season amidst the misery of exams,” freshman Sarah Bland said.
After Flute Choir’s harmonious renditions of “Carol of the Bells” and “O Come, O come Emmanuel,” members of St. John’s Singers and Boy Choir advanced down the aisles.
“Candlelight is the greatest tradition because of the wonderful songs, especially the first, the processional, and last, ‘Wonderful Peace,’ because we get to interweave songs and people,” said sophomore Alexandra Baskin, who performed with Les Chanteuses.
The service also featured performances by Les Chanteuses, Chorale and Kantorei. Kantorei’s “Magnificat” featured solos by seniors Erin Granberry, Aparajita Maitra and Hannah Worscheh.
“This was my last year in Candlelight. I got really emotional, especially when Les Chanteuses sang, because I was in Les Chanteuses for two years,” Maitra said.
The choirs were accompanied by Chamber Strings and Wind Ensemble.
Junior Carlo De Guzman, a viola player in Chamber Strings, said, “It was hard work, especially with the rehearsal before synthesis papers were due, but it came together quite nicely.”
Head Prefect Guan Chen offered a warm welcome to the crowd, emphasizing joy and community, while Headmaster Mark Desjardins presented a Christmas greeting.
The congregation included alumni as well as current faculty, parents and students.
“It was great to actually watch Candlelight for the first time after performing in it with Kantorei for four years,” Sterling Burdine (’11) said.
Candles decorated with boughs and bows illuminated the church.
“The lights danced to the music. The decorations were really magical,” freshman Margaret Trautner said.
Candlelight was followed by a Wassail Party. As partygoers sipped wassail and tasted assorted refreshments, they could either enjoy the music of Jazz Ensemble inside the cafeteria or Kantorei’s carols in the mini-quad outside.
“The mysterious green punch at the Wassail party is my favorite part,” freshman Emlynn Smith said.
Students and faculty alike appreciate Candlelight as a relaxing break before the start of exams.
“Candlelight is the centerpiece of my holiday season,” junior Xavier Gonzalez said.
Math teacher Martha Childress agreed. “It’s one of the best things we do at St. John’s.”