Christmas seems to come earlier every year. Sometime around late August the Christmas paraphernalia starts to appear in the big box stores along with boxes of lights and twinkly trinkets to hang on a tree.
For one young boy Christmas seemed to start when school broke up about 10 days before the big day. However, the Saturday and Sunday before end of term was the Carol Service in the School chapel. Saturday for the old pupils and their families, Sunday for the School.
The choir would gather in the Vestry to put on the cassock and surplices and then collect in the Cloister attached to the Chapel. Upon entering the Vestry, a young chorister saw a stranger wearing headphones seated at a table with some electric devices all flashing away. Mr Howard, the very demanding choirmaster, declared that the service was being broadcast on the BBC. He also announced that the young chorister was going to sing the solo " Once in Royal David's City"that evening. Panic immediately set in for that young boy even though he and another boy had been practicing for weeks before.
As the choir gathered in the Cloister, the candlelit Chapel was full. The microphone hung down in front of the nervous young treble, the choirmaster gently waved his hands to start.
The boy’s voice started clear and precise. Every syllable enunciated as he had been trained. The first verse was the sole domain of the nervous young boy. He was singing to the hundreds silently seated in the magnificent chapel. It went well albeit the last note was a bit faint. That faint last note caused a tear to appear on the boy’s cheek. He felt he had failed. As the choir took up the second verse the choirmaster gave a reassuring tap on the boy’s shoulder to say, “well done boy”. They proceeded to sing whilst walking into the chapel as the congregation stood and joined in. By then the Choirmaster had rushed to the magnificent organ. It bellowed out its rich tones as if to blend Choir and congregation together.
The Carol Service was underway and so was Christmas.