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Alvescot Christmas 2020: A FoSP Fantasia

   As has become the confusing way of 2020, on Tuesday 15th December, we all stayed in and tuned in... In order to go out and have fun at the Friends of St Peter's School Christmas entertainment and raffle draw.

   The ring-mistress was the  unflappable Georgie Flatter who kicked off with what has become the usual Time of Corona Zoom-stuff about muting microphones and turning up the volume and all that jazz... And then she welcomed 47 family groups and individuals to the show.

   And what a show!

   We kicked off with a welcome message from head teacher Sam King and then Emma Campbell (Georgie's sister, I think?) sang a great show-starter 'White Christmas', followed by Sofia on the piano with 'Away in the Manger'. Then a pause for the first tranche of raffle winners, and the news that the enterprise had raised £900 for school funds. Tremendous stuff, and Georgie managed (of course) to get the word 'entrepreneur' into her thanks to local businesses for some of the great prizes.

   Then it was the first of the Class Acts (in all senses of the word), as Pegasus gave us Clement Clarke Moore's 'A visit from St Nicholas'. Astonishing to think that generations of children have been telling the tale of 'Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!  On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!' since it first appeared in a New York newspaper at Christmas 1823... Nearly 200 years ago!

  Next, Elissa with 'Oh Little Town...' with great verve, and Helena and Peter with 'Jingle Bells'... In Polish! A first for me, and very good. More raffle winners, and then a Christmas Cracker Joke from Kath Gamage (who says accountants can't be funny?) 'What do Santa's pals do after school? Gnome work!

   Sofia again at the piano with a lovely 'Silent Night', and then an unusual, and entertaining, cello and ballet combo from Samuel and Emma. More raffle winners (most of Alvescot seemed to win something!), and another Christmas Joke: 'What do you call Santa when he stops moving? Santa Paws!'

   A stirring round-the-class poem from Tuscana Class, Beth with a spirited Jingle Bells, and a mini-raffle organised by Sarah Fletcher (who generously donated the commission paid on a special Alvescot Neal's Yard Remedies link) that raised £83, and the Big Prize won by (was it?) Clare?

   Cygnus Class were all dressed up splendidly with their entertainment... And then a Special Message from the Top Man from the South Pole, who brought the good news that his elves had been working overtime at their toy-making, and that Mrs King had advised him that all children had been jolly good so Christmas could begin right away!

   The lovely Andrea Boyle smiled and waved and addressed us all in the friendly way of a good chairman, and told us about FoSP, and we all clapped heartily and waved back, and agreed that the evening was a good 'un and that St Peter's School was in fine shape.

   And woven all through the evening was Georgie Flatter's excellent spiel, introducing the acts, and still  reminding the audience how to alter the sound and whatnot. To cap the evening, Georgie entertained us with a poem by Laura Kelly Fanucci (a Catholic poet from Minnesota) who manages eloquently to sum up this ridiculous Time of Corona without once mentioning it by name, and muses on how we might together build a better tomorrow...

When this is over, may we never again take for granted

A handshake with a stranger

Full shelves at the store

Conversations with neighbours

A crowded theatre

Friday night out

The taste of communion

A routine check-up

The school rush each morning

Coffee with a friend

The stadium roaring

Each deep breath

A boring Tuesday

Life itself.

When this ends

may we find

that we have become

more like the people

we wanted to be

we were called to be

we hoped to be

and may we stay

that way: better

for each other

because of the worst.

And amen we all say to that, and thank you we all say to Georgie, FoSP, the performers, the raffle prize givers... And everyone connected with St Peter's School in Alvescot in The Land of the Twelve Churches. If I've missed out anyone or misremembered names, sincere apologies... And do please let me know!

Finally... A very Merry Christmas, everyone at St Peter's School, and a Happy New Year!

Alvescot Christmas 2021: Advent

"But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely."

'A Christmas Carol', Charles Dickens

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