By Madeleine Lee
Photo courtesy of Jessica Joshi.
The well-known Christmas Pageant is St. Mary’s’ longest tradition, beginning during the time in which the sisters of St. Mary’s were running the school. When the school was next door to the original St. Mary’s Cathedral, students performed the pageant in a small, wooden chapel, and even then, the pageant took many long hours to prepare. The pageant has survived location changes, two world wars, the Great Depression, and now a global pandemic. There was no way that this special tradition requiring hard work and dedication would be cancelled this year. In typical St. Mary’s fashion, the school found a way to enable the seniors who are “Lifers” to experience the tradition that they have been waiting for.
Typically, during the Christmas Pageant, the second and third graders sing Christmas songs that have been sung for years while the seniors pose in the tableau, with each scene relating to the song being sung. Seniors who have been at St. Mary’s for at least 12 years can have various roles in the pageant; there are Marys, Josephs, shepherds, angels, and magi. To obtain the role of Mary, seven seniors are voted on by the senior class and the faculty. The remaining seniors draw their roles out of a hat.
Because the school community cannot gather to perform or watch the Christmas pageant, it was pre-filmed this year. Seniors put on their costumes and were given clear masks to wear while they posed for photos in the tableau. Each of the seven tableau groups posed for a photo and got to listen to the pre-recorded song that pairs with their tableau scene. The organizers of this year’s Christmas Pageant will compile the photos into a video with the traditional Christmas pageant music playing in the background. The senior class will then gather socially-distanced to watch the pageant together.
As a Lifer, I have been looking forward to my senior Christmas Pageant for years. It feels like I was just in lower school singing “So My Sheep Will Safely Graze” and emphasizing the “T” in “Silent Night.” Although I am disappointed that I will not get to hear the children sing right next to me, I am thankful that St. Mary’s has made the experience the best it could be during these challenging times.
For & By Students
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