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Punch and Carols

This Parents' Guild event involved a lot of hard work by the Music and Art department as well as the Parents' Guild. Girls brought in tins and boxes of mince pies for the Parents' Guild to serve at the event. The Parents' Guild made large bowls of mulled wine, which was served warmed up during the interval of the performance. The dining room used to smell so 'christmassy' because of the spiced wine!

The Art department supervised all of the decorations, the English department chose the readings and the Music department chose music to be sung and played in the Carol service and Puch and Carols. They then taught the music groups how to perform the pieces to a high standard and put in many hours of rehersal before the events. There were several groups to choose for: the Ensemble were the chosen few with brilliant voices, the Senior Choir and Junior Choir (first three years), Junior Strings, Senior Strings, the School Orchestra, the Jazz Band.... All of them worked very hard to produce entertainment of the highest standard possible!

Punch and Carols was usually held mid-week on two evenings. The hall was seated and the dining hall laid out with the mince pies and mullled wine. Programs were typed out with not only details of the music to be enjoyed but also the names of all of the performers. They made a nice keepsake for proud parents!

The Carol Service

This was held across the Tettenhall Road in St. Jude's Church during the last week of the autumn term. The RS staff organised the first years to write prayers for the event. A few were then chosen to be used in the service. They also helped with the choosing of Bible readings and set prayers.

Those girls who were members of choirs, bands and orchestra or were reading in church spent the morning rehersing in Church and then came back for lunch. They then went to the Church about a quarter of an hour before the end of lunchtime and were registered at the Church. The rest of the school would then assemble in formrooms for afternoon registration, bringing their coats with them. Bags had to be left in form rooms. Forms were sent for in the order they were to sit in Church - younger ones at the front. It was quite a feat to get the whole school across the road. The police used to come to 'cross' us.

St. Jude's always used to have a large real Christmas tree that made the church smell wonderful if you sat in the first few pews. Once in the church girls were expected to behave respectfully, and mostly did. Staff sat at the end of every three or so pews to ensure that was the case!

Each year the service was different - and yet many had traditional features...

  • Once in Royal David's City - soloist carrying a candle to walk up the aisle at the beginning...
  • Adeste Fideles - in Latin! at the end...
  • Member of Staff who was about to retire to read the reading from St. John's Gospel.
Until 2005 there was a tradition of the vicar and retired members of staff being invited to the school upper library after the Carol Service for mince pies and coffee. As a serving member of staff it was something I looked forward to. It was good to see old collegues, and, in my case, staff who had taught me. As the school 'grew' and St. Jude's removed pews, it became difficult to seat everone in church and the staff were no longer invited to the service. As a retired member of staff myslef now, I am sorry that is the case...


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