Carrickfergus Grammar choir supporting Cash for Kids with online carol service

Carrickfergus Grammar School choir is helping to raise vital funds for a charity appeal with a special online carol service.

The pre-recorded concert is due to air this evening (December 15) on YouTube in support of Cash for Kids.

The idea for the online service came about due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions on the choir’s activities.

Edward Craig, Director of Music at the school explained: “Normally each year we create a very traditional Christmas event called a Festival of Nine Lessons with Carols. It is usually held in St Nicholas’ Church in Carrickfergus which would be filled with many pupils, parents and past pupils of the school. The various choirs from throughout the school would lead this and the lessons would be read by representatives of the whole school community. We also have a designated charity for a retiring offering.

Carrickfergus Grammar School choir at Stormont.

“This year we knew that everything would be different and with so much confusion around even being allowed to sing in groups earlier in the year and the sadness we felt at having to cancel all the performances for our school leavers in the springtime, we set about planning a virtual carol service back in October.

“Singers had to be kept in year bubbles so no choir has actually even met together this year – the senior unable to train up the juniors and indeed our new pupils in year 8 having little concept of all the opportunities that would normally be open to them.”

Despite the difficulties, pupils stepped up to the challenge, with many rehearsing music and recording in small groups or even on their own at home.

“Together with some archive recordings from previous years, we then brought all of their voices together to create the service which lasts just over an hour and contains around 20 pieces of music,” Mr Craig added.

“I was very much supported by a fabulous team of Upper Sixth students, led by Daniel Sharpe our Deputy Head Boy, who have been proactive in bringing the students together virtually and also for engaging with Cash for Kids, our designated charity for this Christmas. Anyone can make a little donation to this worthwhile charity at this link.”

Mr Craig continued: “At this time when we are wary of the effects of what appears to primarily be a respiratory virus, it has never been more important to keep singing. The deterioration in breathing ability of those who would have been able to sustain and control this well back in the spring has been shocking as I have listened to individual voices this winter of both teenagers and adults. So, we look forward to brighter days when not only the musical benefits of singing together but those of our general health and wellbeing can be more fully realised again.”

The service is due to be broadcast on YouTube at 7pm this evening, Tuesday December 15. Click this link to watch: https://youtu.be/6B5PfVTUos8

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