By Kyra Li (III) and Anjola Olawoye (III)

As the annual Winter Festival approaches, Pingry students are preparing for their performance for family and friends on December 12.

The day before, many ensembles, including chorus, band, orchestra, and handbells, will be performing various selections of winter and holiday-themed music for the all-school concert. It is a decades-long tradition, and for some, it is the most memorable event of the school year. It is also the only time of the year when both the Short Hills and Basking Ridge campus come together in one space to celebrate the winter festivities and indicate the beginning of the holiday season. 

Last year, the program began with former Headmaster Nat Conrad’s remarks about the holiday season and the importance of giving and sharing commonalities. “It is wonderful and important to share what we have in common and make a good effort to share the gift of friendship,” he said. 

As usual, many traditions, like the Presentation of Gifts and the Candle Lighting Ceremony, took place last year and will also appear in this year’s concert. Last year, Student Body President, Andrew Cowen ‘19, assisted Charles Brunhouse ‘31 and Riya Mirchandani ‘31 in lighting the festival candle at the concerts. This year, Student Body President Brian Li ‘20, will assist two new kindergarteners in lighting the candle. 

This year’s program starts with Deck the Halls. As always, it will include classic songs, such as Al Hanissim and Maoz Tzur, and will end with the all-school sing-a-long of the Twelve Days of Christmas. 

Everyone is looking forward to and preparing for the Winter Concert. Mr. Sean McAnally, one of the music teachers, said that this is his “favorite concert of the year, and it is a wonderful experience where the entire school comes together to celebrate the beginning of holiday festivities.”