Christmas on the Hill; a time for togetherness, joy and reflection

December 10, 2018
December 6, 2018, was almost exactly four years since Christine Buckle ‘19 first sang at the annual Christmas on the Hill concert at Ashesi.

Then a wide-eyed, freshmen, trying to figure out a rhythm to her new college life, she was impressionable and excited about the opportunity.

“I felt recognized and somewhat accomplished as a singer then,” said Christine who had just come off a sterling performance during a national music competition. “I had gained some acclaim and I figured I could build my stage confidence a bit more and still remain relevant, in a sense.”

Now a senior at Ashesi, and given another opportunity to sing at the concert, Christine approached the stage with a different purpose.

“Four years ago I sang a Christmas Carol because I thought people would like it and clap for me and we would all be happy because it’s Christmas,” she shared. “But this year, this final year, I didn’t just sing a Christmas Carol. I sang a song that shows what Christmas means to me and my faith.”

Started six years ago by the Decibels, a student-led music group, Christmas on the Hill, which has become an annual favorite at Ashesi, celebrates the warmth and spirit of the holiday season. With music, dance and spoken-word poetry performances by staff, faculty and students, the concert brings the community together one last time before school closes for the holiday season.

“Around this time of the year, with finals right around the corner, and people looking to meet goals and targets, it’s easy to lose sight of the sense and warmth in our community,” shared Antoinette Doku ‘14, Assistant Dean of Students and Community Affairs. “So Christmas on the Hill provides an opportunity for the community to unwind and celebrate togetherness with fun and exciting performances from staff, faculty, and students. In many ways, it also brings back fond memories of Christmas in our childhood.”

To usher in the holiday spirit, this year’s concert held a slightly different feel. Leading up to the day, groups of students strung up ornaments around campus.

“The theme for this year’s concert was Banjawhich means Family, in Chichew, a Malawian language,” said Edel Togodo ’20 coordinator for this year’s event. “For this, each year group was assigned a portion of the school premises to decorate. We also built a manger as the Christmas symbol for the occasion. For many of us, Christmas on a Hill is an avenue to destress and get in touch with childhood Christmas celebrations. Events leading to the day and the day itself finds a way of giving me joy and taking negativity away from me.”

While Christmas on the Hill celebrates the sense of community, for Christine and many of her classmates, it’s also bitter-sweet point in their Ashesi journey.

“I think to us, it means that we’ve made through another year in Ashesi and a new year is coming with an opportunity to do and be better,” she shares. “Only this time, it’s the end of the road for us in the Class of 2019.”

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