Malcolm Arnold Academy keeps tradition alive with School Christmas Concert premiered on YouTube
Throughout the year, schools have had to continually find ways to celebrate and mark special occasions while keeping their communities safe. Of course, Christmas is among the most celebrated holidays in school, when Nativity plays, carol concerts and services bring together the whole community.
Schools across Northampton have found new ways to cope with the Covid restrictions that limit their ability to carry out normal festivities. Malcolm Arnold Preparatory School drew local attention with its live-streamed Nativity play, which allowed parents to tune in and watch as a camera followed narrators through the school to various class bubbles enacting different scenes of the nativity story.
MAPS’ neighbour, Malcolm Arnold Academy in Northampton and also part of the David Ross Education Trust, has also adapted a special event to a virtual format – their annual Christmas concert.
The Christmas Concert at Malcolm Arnold Academy is the culmination of a series of 'live' concerts broadcast every fortnight on YouTube since the start of September, which have allowed students to continue developing their musical performance skills and ensured that live music experiences are not lost due to Covid-19.
During these concerts, students and their loved ones can comment in real-time on performances, helping build the sense of a supportive, listening community.
The specially filmed Christmas Concert involves around 300 students, including all of Year 7 singing “Love Came Down” in the school courtyard against a backdrop of illuminated Christmas decorations. Classes performed in their bubbles, ensuring that no Covid regulations were broken.
The film will then be edited together and streamed on YouTube in the evening, so that students and their loved ones can gather around to watch the performance as a community. Families are also able to comment on the video in real time, having conversations with one another and generally expressing their support.
The school is working with local curry house Saffron to provide takeaways so that parents can watch the concert from the comfort of their sofa with a plate of delicious local food. Alongside this, a group of parents is organising a live Zoom quiz for the whole community.
These Christmas plans are still far from normal, but by adapting so creatively to the unique situation in which the school finds itself, Malcolm Arnold Academy keeps tradition alive and gives students and families a wonderful ending to a challenging term.
Simon Toyne, Director of Music at Malcolm Arnold Academy and the David Ross Education Trust, said:
“We are delighted to be able to offer this virtual Christmas concert for our students and their families. At Malcolm Arnold Academy and across the David Ross Education Trust, music is a part of every-day life. In spite of Covid restrictions, music has continued at the Academy, both in the classroom and with many new extra-curricular groups, all creative solutions to issues of bubbles and social distancing. Live music has tremendous power - it connects us with each other, as performers and audience. And we all need it now, more than ever. "