Updated: Jan 12, 2022
It's 2022, and we are celebrating the top ten moments of 2021! Join us as we look back on ten incredible times from our past year. Some are musical and some are academic, while others speak to the strength of our community and faith. Each is a wonderful memory of the year gone by!
Summer Program returns for 3rd year
In late August, we welcomed 20 students into our third annual Summer Program. It was an exciting week of music and fun, sunshine and new friendships. Activities ranged from rhythm and dance to code-breaking and pinewood derby. And that's not to mention the choral singing!
Investiture ceremony welcomes eight into choir
In November the choir of Saint Paul’s Choir School invested eight new choristers. Some had been preparing for over two years to join! What a moment it was to see these young men dedicate their voices to God. We live our mission and honor our motto: repleatur os meum laude tua, indeed! (May my voice be filled with your praise!)
Premiere of original carol Love Came Down at Christmas
This year saw the world premiere of our music director James Kennerley’s setting of Love Came Down at Christmas, based upon the poem of the same name by Christina Rosetti. It was an astounding moment when the boys first sang it on December 12 at the first concert of our annual Christmas series. The boys themselves voted that the poem be adapted for their choral style – it won out by democratic vote over two other finalist choices!
Field trips return! First stop Nature's Classroom!
We opened the year with a return to many of the normal activities that make up a school year. Most especially, we resumed field trips. Starting the year with a visit to Nature’s Classroom was a fantastic way to channel summer-time energy into the Fall’s resumption of school-time learning. It was a great deal of fun for both our students and teachers, and it was quickly followed by two nature-themed labs in science class with Ms. Werne: an earthworm lab and dissecting owl pellets.
In-person concerts resume
2021 saw the triumphant return of in-person concerts just a few months after the resumption of in-person learning. Songs of Springtime: A Concert for the Marian Month was a limited engagement that finally put the choristers of Saint Paul’s in front of a live audience. It was a fantastic way to lift the spirits of our community, especially when coupled with the warming weather and the month-long celebrations of Mary!
Wind the clock back to September of 2020, and we were just as excited to resume in-person learning! It was then, as well, that the boys started up with celebrating and singing the daily and Sunday masses again, after a long second half of 2020 without them.
Premiere of 18th-Century villancico Quien Es Aquella
This list also features Love Came Down at Christmas (2021), but that is not the only major premiere that the Boy Choristers of Saint Paul’s Choir School were a part of. In fact, in May of 2021, they stunned audiences with the American premiere of Quien Es Aquella, an 18th-Century villancico by Manuel de Zumaya that was restored by our Assistant Director of Music, Maks Adach. Using the digitized library of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, he reintroduced the world to this amazing piece, which the boys did justice to in their fantastic performance.
Standardized testing scores soar
These four boys sitting on the steps of the famed Widener Library at Harvard University are no joke. Our 2021 standardized test scores were some of the highest heights we have seen. At a time when so many were experiencing disrupted schooling with distanced instruction and learning loss, our students were thriving with their in-person instruction. Four students received honorable mention in French from the Grand Concours (National French Contest). From the National Latin Exam, our students received 3 bronze medals. On the Classical Learning Test, the boys received a 100% on the arithmetic section at the start of the 2020-2021 school. Lastly, on the NWEA MAP test, our boys did very well, showing little to no learning loss across 2021 with the resumption of in-person learning.
Starry Night gains a national audience
We still can’t believe that 2020’s Starry Night: Christmas in Harvard Square reached national audiences twice in 2021. With gratitude to Catholic Television for airing our special, we were able to share our gifts and mission with those celebrating the Christmas season. Whether it was with Catholics last January in the buildup to the Sunday celebration of Jesus’s Baptism or with those preparing their Christmas Eve meals this past December, we were honored to be a part of it!
Graduates enter top schools in the Boston area
Graduation always fills us with pride. Whether our students have spent only their eighth-grade year with us or they have been with us since the third grade, we always celebrate them on this day! It is the fulfillment of all of their hard work and effort. More importantly, it is a show of their growth. Through spiritual, academic, and musical preparation and the “strength” training of the essays, testing, and performances along the way, they grow from boys to polite, young gentlemen. Enriched by their academic preparation and choral masterworks and emboldened by their faith, they go on to some of the top high schools in the area. The Class of 2021 graduated to Boston College High School, Boston University Academy, Catholic Memorial, Philips Andover, Quincy High School, and Saint Sebastian School.
Capstone project inaugurated
In 2021, Saint Paul’s Choir School began a seminar series with its eighth-graders as a capstone project for their years at the school. For eight weeks and with eight guest instructors, the series explored the question “What is a happy life?” Using a range of primary sources from the classical world, biographies of 20th-Century Americans, Catholic teachings, and modern journalism, our students grappled with this question. Afterward, they wrote thoughtful essays answering the question and presented them to the whole school. It was a remarkable project for our graduates. We thank Mrs. Karen Celano, now co-principal of Lumen Verum Academy, for organizing it.