St. Nicholas Concert

A Kindergarten student dresses as a snowflake for the St. Nicholas Concert

 

Every year on December 6, the staff and students of IHMS gather in the gym to celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas. Why is this annual celebration such an important tradition at IHMS?

 

Students, teachers, and parents gathered in the gym for the St. Nicholas Concert
The answer is simple. Prior to 1963, Immaculate Heart of Mary School was known as St. Nicholas School. When St. Nicholas School was eventually torn down and replaced with our current building, the name was also changed to make the school less parochial and more appealing to families from parishes throughout Winnipeg.
Since St. Nicholas (who died on December 6th, 343) was the namesake and patron saint of the old school, he was considered its heavenly advocate, and able to intercede for the needs of the school.
 St. Nicholas School at 650 Flora Ave.

 

St. Nicholas
          Information about St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas was a fourth century Greek speaking bishop who lived in the city of Myra in present day Turkey. He dedicated his life to serving God, and became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need. Because he is so beloved by Christians around the world, he is referred to as “St. Nicholas”, even though he was never officially canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
St. Nicholas had a reputation for giving anonymous gifts to the poor and would go around at night to drop off money, food, and toys in the hope of making children happy. St. Nicholas remains a patron saint of Christmas, and in the 1674 years since his death, this secret gift-giving has been the inspiration for our present day Santa Claus.
How did St. Nicholas become associated with our contemporary image of Santa Claus with a sleigh and reindeer? The association was made almost 200 years ago in an American poem entitled “Twas the night before Christmas”. According to carols.org.uk, “The poem ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers!” santa6cropped

 

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, IHMS has been celebrating the feast day of St. Nicholas for years with music and “goody bags” for the kids. So, on Thursday, December 6th the students and staff of IHMS gathered in the gym to welcome Saint Nicholas (or Sviaty Mykolaj) with a short musical performance. After a brief introduction by Mr. Picklyk, the program began with the Kindergarten class and eventually everyone singing a song entitled “O xto? xto?”.

 

St. Nicholas as he entered the gym for the concert. He can be seen carrying a crucifix and dressed in special vestments because the real fourth century St. Nicholas was a bishop.

 

During the singing, St. Nicholas entered the gym and moved to the wall where the students were assembled. He was accompanied by two grade 7 “angel helpers” who remained by his side during the entire performance. Four grade 6 students narrated the concert with a short description before each song.

 
 St. Nicholas with his two grade 7 “angel helpers” (top two photos) and the four grade 6 students who narrated the concert (bottom photo)

 

St. Nicholas greeted the students before sitting down with his angel helpers to listen to a musical performance conducted by Mrs. Stanowych.

 

Students from different grades performing for St. Nicholas during the concert

 

A highlight of the concert were the two songs sung by the Kindergarten class. When they sang about snow, they wore a snowflake headpiece which made them look even cuter! And in their second song, they made their own music by tapping two sticks together!

 

The kindergarten students wore a snowflake headdress during the concert to simulate snow. In one of the songs, they also made their own music by tapping 2 wooden sticks together in “harmony”. In the bottom two photos, their teacher (Ms. Paulic) can be seen distributing and then gathering the wooden sticks.

 

After speaking to the kids for a few minutes, he then handed out goody bags to the kindergarten to grade 3 students. The grade 4-8 students found a similar goody bag on their desk when they got back to class.

 

St. Nicholas spoke to the students for a few minutes after the concert

 

 When the older students returned to their classrooms after the concert, they were pleasantly surprised to find a goody bag on their desk. St. Nicholas was living up to his reputation as an anonymous gift giver! The K-3 students received their goody bag in person.

 

The short concert for St. Nicholas was organized by Mrs. Stanowych, the school’s Music/Ukrainian teacher. In addition to the St. Nicholas concert, Mrs. Stanowych is also busy preparing for the school’s two Christmas concerts, both only 2 weeks away. Check back in a few weeks for two more spectacular performances!

 

Mrs. Stanowych conducting the kindergarten class during one of their songs