Empty concert halls, postponed performances, cancelled rehearsals. This became - and in some cases still is - the reality for many musicians when the national lockdown was announced in March 2020. At a time when many professional musicians couldn’t come together to rehearse, DCGS students were incredibly fortunate to be able to continue to make live music together. Although not every ensemble was able to run at every time, there have been a wealth of opportunities across the school year allowing pupils from all year groups to get involved.

The sixth form ‘bubble’ meant that despite the tighter restrictions, sixth form ensembles (both student and teacher led) were able to launch back in September. Within a couple of weeks, 6th Form Choir and Girls’ Choir were up and running, shortly followed by VI Form Orchestra. Although sitting two metres apart was a little strange at first, and singing with masks on was far from ideal, it was a relief to be able to perform with other people again. The range of clubs expanded as guidelines became clearer and restrictions were eased; at the time of writing, fifteen different clubs were available to students across the years, from Year 7 Drum Club to the Sax Ensemble.

Live performance opportunities in the first two terms were scarce, but we were still keen to share our music with the local community. In November, students across Years 12 and 13 put together a video of solo and group performances, which included a performance by the VI Form Orchestra. This was sent out to local care homes, in the hope that it could provide the residents some comfort and entertainment during a troubled festive period. Barely a month later, we found ourselves in lockdown again. However, not even this could deter the DCGS musical community, with members of the Girls’ Choir recorded parts to Philip Stopford’s ‘An Irish Blessing’ at home. Similarly, members of Swing Band (at both DCGS and DCHS) recorded parts to two of their classic pieces, ‘Sway’ and ‘Skyfall’. These were then compiled into virtual performances which were shared with the DCGS community.

Along with the Summer term came further easing of restrictions and opportunities for live performances. After working hard all year, students will be able to showcase their talents at the Performing Arts Day later this week and at Founder’s Day services a week from now. For many of us, this will be our first live performance since Christmas 2019. And hopefully ending the academic year on this bright note is a sign that next year will only be better.