The annual Brentwood School Service of Nine Lessons and Carols was held on Sunday afternoon and a packed congregation greatly enjoyed singing carols and were entranced by superb choral items masterminded by Choirmaster, and Second Master, Mr David Taylor.
The large School Chapel Choir was enhanced by the presence of about 30 Old Brentwoods, several of whom had studied, or are currently reading Music at University.
Headmaster, Ian Davies, explained: “The presence of so many former students is a great tribute to Mr Taylor who was conducting the Choir for the 20th time in his career at the School.”
The poignant and very traditional service is one of the highlights of a busy School calendar and the 600-strong congregation included First Years, Sixth Formers, parents, governors, boarders, staff and a large number of recent leavers back from their respective universities.
Mr Taylor, who has announced his retirement at the end of the 2017 Lent Term due to ill health, has been a pivotal part of this popular event held in the atmospheric surroundings of Brentwood Cathedral.
As the electric lights were turned off and the beautiful Cathedral was illuminated by the glow of hundreds of hand-held candles, it felt like the festive season was finally upon us.
Pupil Deputy Head of School and Senior Praepostor Ella Watson opened the service with a reading of Elizabeth Jennings’ The Shepherds, which was followed by the introit No Small Wonder sung by the Choir. The Nine Lessons were read by First Years, Thomas Hodgkinson and Abigail Jennings, Fifth Year, Catriona Kadirkamanathan, Head of Hough House, George Brown, Head of School, James Warman, Bursar Mr Ian Bruton, Mathematics Teacher and long-serving member of staff Mr Tony Drake, Vice-Chairman of Governors, Mr Bob McLintock, and Headmaster Ian Davies.
In the semi-darkness, the School Chaplain, Revd. Dr Adrian McConnaughie, led prayers to a backdrop of the Choir singing the haunting Refrain O Lord, hear my prayer by Taizé Community.
Mr Taylor was supported by Director of Music, Mrs Hilary Khoo, Head of Music Performance, Mr Florian Cooper, and Music teacher Mr William Stock. The organist was Mr David Pickthall MBE (OB).
After the service, there was a retiring collection in aid of Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, the Headmaster hosted a reception in the School’s award-winning Bean Academic Centre, for Old Brentwoods and for the parents of the most senior pupils at the School to thank them for their hard work and their continued support of school activities. He also thanked the Dean, Fr. Martin Boland, for allowing the School to hold this special service in the Cathedral.
On his retirement, Mr Taylor will take up an exciting new part-time role as Director of the Brentwood School Foundation, to help raise funds for scholarships, bursaries and vital equipment for the School.