The process may not be easy and there may still be COVID-19 restrictions to contend with, but W.G. Murdoch School’s band program is still excited to be able to host its upcoming Fall Concert on Oct. 20.
“This is an opportunity for the students to share what they have been learning,” said Shannon Booth, the Crossfield-based school’s music teacher. “It’s also an opportunity for younger students to watch the older ones and see what they can achieve in the years coming. It’s a nice full-circle concert.”
Over 60 students will play a part in the concert, according to Booth, which will also be streamed online. The Grade 6 section of the band has 24 students, the Grade 11 section has 28, and the Grade 12 section hosts 32 students.
“Having these opportunities to showcase learning for our community really helps to build a sense of community,” she said. “In the past, we have had so many stakeholders in Crossfield who have been a part of our success, whether it has been supporting fundraisers, [or] us performing at the seniors' lodge.
“It’s just nice to perform and to instill a broader sense of community.”
Booth added the authentic learning that comes with practising musical instruments and performing in front of people is important for the students.
“These are opportunities for the students to take some pride in the things they are doing and showcase it in a really authentic way,” she said. “For me, seeing the excitement from the families is important.”
For some of the students, Booth said the Oct. 20 performance will be the first time they play their instruments in a concert setting. With COVID-19 restrictions in place on and off for the better part of the last 19 months, Booth said there has been a lot of changes to the W.G. Murdoch band program.
“Last year we couldn’t play our instruments,” she said. “This year, they have been able to play, but it has been tight. There are things that we took for granted in the past like being able to come in, get ready, and go to work.”
According to Booth, preparation has been a bit slower these days. On top of rehearsing, there are many protocols that need to be adhered to in order to ensure students and staff are operating safely.
Current restrictions only allow for a one-third capacity for in-person attendance of the concert, which Booth said will be limited to family members of the band only. A ticketing system, students creating instrument covers, masking, live-streaming, and social distancing are all other components Booth said she has had to focus on, in addition to preparing a 30-minute concert.
Booth extended thanks to the Crossfield community, as she said they have been supportive of the W.G. Murdoch music program and its students.
“Our kids are really looking forward to the connection [by] having people back in the building and performing,” she said.
The concert will take place Oct. 20. Those unable to attend in person will be able to watch via a YouTube livestream link provided through the school, which will be made available to participating families.