The Creative Arts staff at Richmond School and Sixth Form College were disappointed that they could not put on their usual Christmas extravaganza concert, traditional carol service and dance showcase this year. However, undeterred, they pulled out ‘all the stops’ to ensure the community didn’t miss out on being able to enjoy the outstanding music and dance by their exceptionally talented students.

The school is delighted to share their virtual Christmas music concert and Destined to Dance show across the community, including with The Terrace, Nightingale Hall and Greyfriars care homes and sheltered accommodation for their residents and staff to enjoy. The school appreciate that carol singers are not allowed to visit and entertain in the homes this year so hope everyone will enjoy watching the students’ performances over the festive period.

Students and staff are also thrilled that BBC Radio Tees jumped at the opportunity to be able to play the students’ tracks on air.  Rachel Teate, a presenter at the station said: “When I heard the variety of talent showcased on the 24 performances I knew it would spread some much-needed to cheer to the listeners of BBC Radio Tees. The audio of the performances will be spread out during my shows alongside other festive treats from the talented people in our region between 7pm and 10pm on Friday 18th, Monday 21st and Wednesday 23rd.”

Mr Boyd, Lead Teacher of Music, came up with the wonderful idea of recording a musical advent calendar, with a performance posted each day on the school’s facebook page.  The project evolved and a fifty-minute virtual concert has been created showcasing a compilation of all 24 acts.  The concert features a terrific mix of Christmas-themed music, from traditional pieces to well-known classics and, to add to the ambience, each video features a student’s stunning Christmas design.  Enjoy the fantastic concert at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3bkYj9Admk

Mrs O’Malley, Dance Teacher, took on the huge task of creating ‘Destined to Dance’, a video to showcase the fabulous projects our Year 7 through to Year 13 dance students have been working on during this half term.  Mrs O’Malley said: “The Dance department is extremely proud to present a snippet of our amazing performers who have demonstrated the six school values of Creativity, Excellence, Independence, Resilience, Respect and Teamwork to an exceptional standard.   Miss Paul, Mr Birdsall, Miss Pemberton and Mrs. O’Malley have explored various themes and styles of dance from Bollywood, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre and Contemporary Dance, and the culmination of the showcase really shows off the versatility and talent of our students.”  The video can be enjoyed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsGWvV7Z8ps

The staff have also contributed to both projects. In dance, they donned their best Christmas jumpers, reindeer onesies and elf costumes to deliver their fun-filled Rudolf dance, starring Ms Dunwoodie as Rudolf, the senior leadership team as the other reindeers and Mr Potter as Father Christmas.  Mrs O’Malley said: “Thank you to all the staff who took part, braving the cold and rain to record the dance and to my fellow naughty elves, Miss Pemberton and Mr Birdsall, for helping with the choreography and making the event a reality. You can enjoy the staff dance at www.youtube.com/watch?v=33iYxiynZbc

The last track on the musical extravaganza features the school’s senior leadership team who recorded ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’. Stephen Boyd, Lead Teacher for Music, said: “Our students have risen wonderfully to the new challenge of performing not to a live audience but a camera and microphone. I am delighted we have so many musicians who want to share their music with everyone, and I am always very excited by the quality they bring. I have also been extremely impressed by our staff who have shown tremendous spirit and enthusiasm, stepped out of their comfort zone, and have produced some great dance moves and vocals.

“I would like to thank Mr Harris, Mr Millman and Miss Dix, as well as all our visiting instrumental and vocal teachers for their support with all our musical projects in the current climate. Huge thanks also to our Year 13 musicians Unity Shrimpton and Archie Forbes who have worked so hard on their own studies but also found the time to support us in the recording studio, mixing and editing.  I look forward to 2021 when we will hopefully see you all again in Richmond School for one of our tremendous musical evenings!”

Jenna Potter, Headteacher, concluded:” I have been blown away with the creativity, resourcefulness and sheer determination of our staff and students to ensure the tradition of our exceptional music and dance showcases was not interrupted by the current challenging situation. It has been humbling to see how their dedication has paid off with such outstanding performances which I know will bring so much pleasure to so many people in our community. I have also been most impressed with the artwork of the students who entered our Christmas card competition and was delighted that we were able to send cards to all the staff and residents at the care homes in Richmond as well as display the designs at The Station, Tesco and Richmond Library.”