The youngest students at St. Mary School in Walnut Creek — the 15 members of the pre-kindergarten class — are teaming up with their sixth-grade buddies on a special project when they return to school after the Thanksgiving break.
There's a big window in the pre-kindergarten classroom that is always filled with a Nativity scene created by Schwartz's students. "We always get together with our sixth-grade buddies," she said.
Plans were still being made for this year's creation, which will perform double duty, appearing both at the Crèche Festival and at the school. The three-dimensional design may include a papier-mâché manager and a three-dimensional Holy Family. Painting is scheduled for Nov. 30.
"Everybody's so excited here," Schwartz said.
But first things first. "We start with Advent," she said. "We always do an Advent wreath and a prayer service."
After that, there will be talk of Christmas, and, for some of the 4-year-olds, introductions to the Holy Family: Who is Mary? Who is Joseph?
The St. Mary School crèche will join the display in the Cathedral Event Center. Professional florists will decorate the chapels of the cathedral.
As part of the festival the cathedral is offering for senior citizen parish groups a special tour, which includes viewing the professional and parish crèches, Christmas shopping at The Cathedral Shop, live Christmas music and a catered box lunch. Call Denise Kogler for details at 510-271-1935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other highlights of the weekend will include a reception for donors, who will get the first peek at the festival Dec. 14. The family crèche-making event is scheduled for the afternoon of Dec. 15. Chanticleer's annual Christmas concert is scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 14, while the San Francisco Boys Chorus will perform a holiday concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 15. The festival will end with a holiday jazz concert at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 16.
Additional information on the events, including how to order concert tickets, is available at http://ctlcathedral.org/visit/creche11.
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