On Wednesday, December 16, the Manhattan Country School community—students, teachers, staff, families, alumni and former parents—gathered at St. Francis de Sales Church on 96th Street for our annual Winter Assembly. The program began with a vibrant djembe performance by African drumming students, led by MCS parent Michael Ulmer. Michèle reminded us that the winter solstice, the darkest time of the year, is the season of light. People honoring traditions around the world light candles, and so did we. The room sparkled with decorations designed by the 5-6s parents.
Our songs celebrated Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day and the winter solstice, and included the traditional favorites “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Oh Hanukkah” and “Matunda ya Kwanzaa.” We heard the 8-9s and 9-10s playing bird calls and harmonies on their recorders during “I Heard a Bird Sing.” “Zol Zain Sholem,” a Yiddish appeal for peace, was enhanced by the riotous klezmer music of clarinetist Ivan Barenboim.
Thanks to all who made this assembly beautiful. Those who attended were uplifted and reminded of what the holiday season is really about.