Photo by Cathy Webb
Fifth-graders portray the living nativity.
GRANITE CITY — The Holy Family School’s annual Christmas production on Dec. 16 and 17 once again was a rousing success.
The show is a Granite City tradition the community enjoys year after year, with a packed gymnasium for each performance. Judy Barnum, Holy Family Band and Choral teacher, works with Principal Margaret Holland Pennell and the students, teachers and staff to prepare the school’s annual Christmas gift to parents and residents.
The prologue for the show was the band’s performance of “Joyeux Noel.” The band is complete with a large section of violinists, and several band members had solo parts.
The show opened with the eighth grade singing “Come, Thou Long Awaited Jesus,” sung by candlelight. The program progressed with different compositions and versions of familiar carols, with each class having the opportunity to sing for the audience. The eighth-grade students took turns introducing the classes and the music they were going to sing, and three classes performed songs with hand bells.
Eighth-grader Patty Lahey introduced the fifth grade’s performance of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” She explained that long ago, religious carols were banned, so songwriters wrote new songs with secret meanings to keep Christ in Christmas. “True love” stood for Jesus Christ, “a partridge in the pear tree” represented Jesus was willing to be sacrificed like the bird for its nestlings, “two turtle doves” represented the Old and New Testaments, “French Hens” stood for faith, hope and love; “four calling birds” are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and “golden rings” represent the first five books of the Old Testament.
The “geese a-laying” represent the six days of creation, the “swans a-swimming” are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the “maids a-milking” are the Beatitudes, the “ladies dancing” are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, the “Lords a-leaping” are the Ten Commandments, the “pipers piping” represent the eleven apostles, and the “drummers drumming” symbolize the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
The program was dedicated to Gloria Falbe, who retired in May after 26 years teaching the second grade. Student Council members presented Falbe an award and poinsettia plant.
“I am grateful for her kindness, loyalty and constant support,” Pennell said. “We wish her God’s blessings in her retirement.”
The living nativity, performed by the fifth grade, concluded the program, with students Olivia Gray as Mary and Michael Atkins as Joseph, and members of the St. Dominic Savio Club portraying the characters of the nativity.