Christmas at the Choir School is always one of my favorite times of year. Every December, the boys participate in a number of special Christmas events, from their performances of Handel’s Messiah that are cherished by thousands of audience members each year, to singing solemn Christmas services to loyal members of the congregation, to trimming our school tree in the Library and answering Christmas trivia questions at lunch with only the faculty to bear witness. Despite the craziness of season, the energy building in the school is such an infectious blend of joy and love, one can’t help but be swept up in the holiday spirit.
In 2020, despite the boys learning from home and the pandemic further restricting many of our lives and holiday plans, that Christmas spirit of joy, love, and peace within our community remains undiminished. It is apparent in everything from the boys’ enthusiastic participation in our virtual holiday events—like Christmas recitals and decorating gingerbread houses with their teachers and friends over Zoom—to the faculty’s creativity in developing Christmas-themed activities and lessons, to the parents’ tearful faces watching several of the local boys sing in Saint Thomas Church last Sunday for the first time since mid-March. The holiday spirit is alive and well at the Saint Thomas Choir School!
Christmas also provides an opportunity to reflect on the year that has been and to wait, with hope, for the year to come. This year, I have watched every member of the Saint Thomas community come together—in spite of the physical distances between us—in ways we have never done before, working as a team in order to provide the best possible educational experience to the students. I have witnessed acts of tremendous selflessness and faith by parents, staff members, boys, and donors as we not only contend with the pandemic in our own lives but help each other through some of the most difficult challenges in any of our lifetimes. I have seen incredible growth both of our individual talents and of all of our mindsets as we reckon with new ideas and possibilities we had never considered before.
Our community emerges from 2020 having accomplished remarkable things, proving its strength and resilience over and over again. I feel so privileged to work with so many wonderful staff members, families, and students who make Saint Thomas the special place it is, and I am grateful to the broader community of our friends, supporters, and parish family for making this opportunity possible for us all. We look forward to continuing to share our joy and love with each other in the coming year, hopefully without such a great distance between us, and to all of the hope and healing that 2021 brings for our community and our world. Our community on 58th Street and beyond sends all of you our best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.