Lessons & Carols Celebrates the Season with Joy

Students, faculty, and staff gathered in St. John’s Chapel on December 14 for Groton School’s most beloved Christmas tradition, the Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols.

The Reverend Allison Read, the school chaplain and director of Spiritual Life, presided at the service, which included a prelude by the Groton School Chamber Orchestra, directed by Tim Terranella; hymns and carols by Groton's choir, under the guidance of Choirmaster and Organist Daniel Moriarty; and the nine traditional readings—the lessons.
This gathering—always meaningful and memorable—was particularly joyous after the 2020 service, sidelined by the pandemic, was presented only virtually. 

The readers on Tuesday night were Headmaster Temba Maqubela, Sixth Groton Headmaster Bill Polk, Registrar Christina Corcoran, and several students—Senior Prefects Maya Varkey ’22 and Anthony Wright ’22, Second Form Officer Holly Bradsher ’26, Third Form Officer Asante Kiio ’25, Fourth Form Officer Charles DuBois ’24, and Fifth Form Officer Maya Luthi ’23.

Before the pandemic, Groton typically presented three services, one for the Town of Groton, another for alumni and parents, and a final service for the campus community. While the school regrets that the town service was impossible this year, the alumni/parent service was held on December 12, with limited capacity and COVID vaccines required. Despite the protocols each night, the Christmas message remained clear and beautiful. As Chaplain Read said, “We pray for grace and peace for all Groton family and friends in this season.”

In addition to Mr. Maqubela and Mr. Polk, readers at the December 12 service included House Prefects Yeabsira Gugssa ’22 and Griffin Elliot ’22; faculty Fanny Vera de Viacava; Barbara Padilla P’23; Megan J. Maturo ’93, P’23, ’25; trustee William C. Vrattos ’87, P’18, ’19, ’23; and former Groton organist Craig E. Smith P’85, ’88, ’89.
Hundreds joined in via a livestream Tuesday night, for the service rekindles Groton memories for alumni and lets parents share the holiday tradition with their children from afar.

The final Lessons & Carols is always joyous for its beauty, inspiration, sense of spirituality—and because it signals the beginning of winter vacation. The service was the culmination of a variety of holiday-themed activities on campus, including Groton’s annual holiday pops concert; gingerbread house and cookie decorating; and a spirited singing of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Groton School wishes a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season to all!
See photos from Lessons & Carols.