The kick start of the festivities for me is the Candlelit Christmas service held in the Parish Church of Warminster, St Denys. Getting a seat is a bit like the opening day of the sales at Harrods, your finger is at the ready when the tickets are released online.

Director of Music, Caroline Robinson's energy levels were at their peak and the dynamism and sparkling energy she exudes is boundless. To say that Mrs R is a tour de force is an understatement.

The church was, as ever, filled to the rafters, with pupils, parents, grandparents and staff. Everyone coming together to celebrate the start of the Christmas festivities by joining together in song. I am always sad when it’s over as it is one of the most uplifting gatherings in the School calendar.

What is always evident is the joy and pleasure all the pupils get from taking part whether it’s playing the flute, doing a reading or singing. Everyone taking part looks pleased to be involved and gives it their all.

The multitude of candles cast an atmospheric light across the church and the pupils walking down the aisle add to the feeling of Christmases that have gone past that this is a moment in time to be enjoyed.

Archie Best started the proceedings with the tradition that is Once in Royal David’s City.  His clear voice rang out throughout the church. Highlights were, for me, the Flute Groups rendition of Carol of the Drum  with the addition of Charlie Whelan on a bongo. It was a lilty, uplifting piece. The Jazz Band with Merry Christmas Everybody  which was upbeat and jaunty. The Senior Drumming Group and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer  which was really clever with some wonderful percussion.

The Ben D Band had everyone in the aisles singing and clapping along to Last Christmas  by Wham. As always they manage to involve the entire audience and are great fun.

Alex Hunter’s rendition of In the Bleak Mid-Winter  led the Warminster Singer’s with beautiful harmonies, as ever, they delivered.

But the absolute star of the show for me was Warminster Cantamus with Kindness is a Blessing  with solos from Barnaby Craven-Smith, Skyla Mercer and Jess Saunders. I have to confess to shedding a tear as the clear, angelic tones rang out capturing the beautiful innocence and spirit of Christmas.

All this is rounded off with mince pies and mulled wine in The Thomas Arnold Hall. I declare the Christmas festivities officially open!

Stella Aldridge, Deputy Head of Development & Alumni

*David Wiltshire images available on Flickr