But it all added up to an unsatisfying mish-mash of a programme, giving Kiri little opportunity to be either deeply moving or richly heartening.
The high spots were a charming lullaby by Brahms and a lovely traditional Maori carol from Kiri's homeland.
But none of this seemed to matter a jot to Dame Kiri's admirers.
They sang alongside Kiri and performed two carols unaccompanied, rising to the gala occasion with sparkle.
In three separate studies Strong and Sexton (1995, 1996, 1997) reported a great deal of disagreement between KIRIS scores in Reading, Math and Science and the corresponding ACT tests.
Their study concluded that "the evaluation of KIRIS is likely to be a complex and long-term process.
The most recent comprehensive study of the Kentucky system was conducted for the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission (Catterall, et al., 1998) concluded that not enough validation research has yet taken place on KIRIS. They describe the April 1997 draft technical manual as "sketchy in its presentation of validity evidence, and perhaps could be described as a bit self-serving" p.
All of the above researchers question the continued use of KIRIS in a high stakes environment and call for further studies of the validity of KIRIS as an instrument to drive curriculum and instruction as well as evaluate schools and individual students.
Basing their objections primarily on religious grounds, the Tripletts refused to allow Chad and Tracey to participate in the spring KIRIS testing.
After receiving affidavits from both parties, including voluminous expert opinions concerning the KIRIS test, the court granted the school board's motion for summary judgment, effectively dismissing the Tripletts' suit.
"The KIRIS exam," the court continued, "requires no advance preparation beyond the student's normal academic program; hence, further notice would have served no purpose."
Second, the court concluded that the KIRIS exam does not violate the establishment clause, because it has the secular purpose of promoting school accountability for student achievement; its items do not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion; and its development and administration do not involve excessive entanglement between government and religion.