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St. Benedict student plays his drum for special Mass


Isaiah 11:6 states, “A child shall lead them.” That is exactly what happened at St. Benedict School on Dec. 8. Will Colpoys, a second grader, led a procession of 402 students while pa rum pum pum pumming on his drum. The Drummer Boy Mass is a longtime tradition at the Eggertsville school.   

Second grader Will Colpoys plays his drum for his classmates at St. Benedict School in Eggertsville and for Jesus as the school celebrates its annual Drummer Boy Mass on Dec. 8. (Photo courtesy of St. Benedict School)

“This is their traditional way of celebrating Christmas and the Advent season here at the school,” said Principal MaryAlice Bagwell.  

This year’s procession lasted 15 minutes and the growing student population brought gifts of diapers and toiletries for the residents of Gateway Longview.

“It really is impactful to see all those kids in their uniforms coming up on the altar and setting a gift down,” said Bagwell. “It’s just a cool thing for them to see, for the parents to see, because it’s centered on giving.”

Students from Kindergarten through second grade stayed for the Mass along with the eighth graders, because it will be their last time attending the Mass. Others watched it livestreamed from their classrooms. Msgr. Robert E. Zapfel, pastor of St. Benedict’s, presided over the Mass. The children do all the readings. This year the children’s choir returned for the first time since the Covid pandemic began.

While holding animal masks, the kids sang, “The Friendly Beasts,” a traditional Christmas about all the animals in the manger presenting gifts to Jesus upon His birth.

“The church is packed with parents of kinder, first, second (grade students), who are the ones that sing the songs with the masks,” explained Bagwell. “So, all their families come. Some eighth grade parents come because it’s the children’s last Mass. The children do all the readings.”

Students at St. Benedict School in Eggertsville take on the roles of sheep, cows and camels during the annual Drummer Boy Mass held at the school on Dec. 8. (Photo courtesy of St. Benedict School)

The Drummer Boy Mass started in the 1970s. All of the donations have gone to Gateway-Longview, a non-profit human services organization established in 1890 that provides comprehensive programs focused on behavioral health, community-based services, residential treatment, and special education programs to over 5,000 children and families annually throughout Western New York. 


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