Lessons & Carols Brings Joy to Campus and Global Audience

Groton’s students, faculty, and staff joined in the joyful and spiritual Service of Nine Lessons & Carols on Tuesday, December 18—a tradition so beloved that hundreds tune in to a livestream each year to hear the Christmas readings and the choir’s beautiful carols and hymns. 

The final service, for those who live and work on the Circle, is always the most anticipated, in part because it comes just before the start of winter vacation. Each year, the school presents three Lessons & Carols services: the first, on December 7, was a public service primarily for our neighbors in the town of Groton, while the second, on December 9, welcomed parents and alumni. Lessons & Carols, which originated in England, has been a central focus of Christmas at Groton since 1928.
While the final service centered on the campus community, its livestream reached far beyond Groton. Viewers tuned in from forty-four U.S. states and fourteen countries—from as far away as Chile, Australia, and China. They tune in to absorb the holiday music, to remember the services they experienced themselves years before, or perhaps to be with their children, albeit virtually, for this meaningful holiday moment. For ninety minutes, the service slowed the pace of a hectic world and encouraged reflection on the meaning of Christmas.
Groton's choir, under the guidance of Choirmaster and Organist Daniel Moriarty, sang traditional hymns and carols, while honorees shared the nine religious readings—the lessons. Among the readers on Tuesday night were Headmaster Temba Maqubela, former Headmaster Bill Polk, school Registrar Christina Corcoran, and several students, including three form officers and a senior prefect. Soloists included Elizabeth Girian ’20, Clement Banwell ’19, Yuno Iwasaki ’19, Lyndsey Toce ’19, Lilias Kim ’19, Neha Agarwal ‘20, and Grace Mumford ’21.  

Readers at the December 7 service included several members of the nearby community, including Lawrence Academy Head of School Daniel Scheibe, while the December 9 service featured readings by various alumni. The Reverend Christopher Whiteman, the school chaplain, presided at each service, which began after a prelude by the Groton School Chamber Orchestra, directed by Tim Terranella.
Tuesday night’s service served as an exciting send-off for students, the night before they would head out to join family and friends. Groton School wishes a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season to all!