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School carolling competition gets airport in holiday spirit

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In harmony: Gilbert Institute pupils perform this week during the Great Christmas Carol-Off at the LF Wade International Airport (Photograph supplied)

Schoolchildren helped the LF Wade Airport get into the Christmas spirit with a carolling competition this week.

The Great Christmas Carol-Off, hosted by Skyport, brought locals and travellers to the airport as 17 schools sang Christmas carols.

The competition was joined by the Skyport artisan market and a 38ft-tall Christmas tree — the tallest on the island.

Yesterday morning, Somersfield Steel Pan Orchestra and the Whitney Institute Middle School Vocal Ensemble performed, and there was double-feature by Warwick Academy’s primary and secondary school choirs.

The Francis Patton Primary Choir performed that afternoon and was followed by special guest performers Shar-Dae Lee and Pier Simons.

The Paget Primary Show Choir performs at the Great Christmas Carol-Off at the LF Wade Airport (Photograph supplied)

June-Ann Furbert, 73, attended the concert to see her grandson, Ezra Furbert-Butterfield, age 9, perform with the Francis Patton Secondary Choir.

She said that it was important for families to support children in their activities and interests.

She added: “I brought up seven foster kids, plus my own children, and I believe in showing support, so I’m just here to support my grandson.”

Her daughter and Ezra’s mother, Alanna, 34, said that it was “really special” to see her son enjoying himself on stage.

She explained: “He’s a really shy child, and to see him come out of his comfort zone and have fun was really, really nice to see.”

The Victor Scott Girls Choir performs at the Great Christmas Carol-Off at the LF Wade Airport (Photograph supplied)

The competition started on Monday with performances by the Saltus Upper Primary Choir, the Elliott Primary Bell and School Choirs, the Gilbert Institute, Victor Scott Girls Choir, Harrington Sound Primary School Choir Club, and the Northland Primary Choir.

The BHS Primary School Singers will perform this morning at 9.30, followed by the Port Royal Primary School Choir, Berkeley Institute Choir, Somerset Primary School Choir and Mount Saint Agnes Middle School.

West Pembroke Primary School will perform at 1.15pm after an hourlong intermission, and the Bermuda Institute will follow and close out the competition.

Brandon Morrison, 33, attended the carol competition not only as a professional photographer, but as a father.

He explained that his son, Mies, age 5, would be performing today with the Bermuda Institute.

Mr Morrison said that he was proud to see his son get into singing — especially because he did the same thing in his youth.

He said: “I have travelled for competitions in choirs, so to see my son have the same interests I think is pretty interesting, especially because I haven’t pushed him to do it, he just wanted to do it on his own.

“Overall, I’m a proud dad.”

Mr Morrison added: “I’ve been here every day so far, so it’s exciting to see kids out here, and as a parent I’m sure it makes you proud to see your child participating.

Mr Morrison said that this would be Mies’s first performance outside of school plays, and has been so excited that “he hasn’t stopped talking about it”.

He added that it was good to see so many parents out encouraging their children during the competition.

Mr Morrison said: “Kids want to do stuff, and I’m happy that Skyport has put this opportunity to the schools, because this is definitely something that we need.”

The Northlands Primary Choir performs at the Great Christmas Carol-Off at the LF Wade Airport (Photograph supplied)

Winners of the competition will receive $5,000, while the runner up will get $2,500 and the People’s Choice winners will get $1,000.

The prize money will go to the winning schools’ music departments.

Dale Butler, a former government minister and school principal, will serve as chief judge and be assisted by Michelle Doars and Tusha Stovell.

Mr Butler said that, as a former teacher and principal, he missed seeing live school choir performances and Christmas plays.

He added that it was nice to see the competition bring back the tradition of school performing in hotels and rest homes around the holidays.

A spokeswoman for Skyport said that the organisation was happy to hold the competition and see 12 public schools participating.

She added: “This event is a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their musical talent, develop their vocal and instrumental skills, and provide a community service while spreading holiday cheer for residents and visitors to the island.

“I commend all the teachers of participating schools for the hard work that has gone into these performances.

“I also encourage family, friends and supporters to attend and cast their vote for People’s Choice.”

The public can vote for the People’s Choice Award by visiting Skyport’s Instagram page and commenting “YES” under videos of their favourite school.

Voting is open until the end of the year.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published December 14, 2023 at 7:49 am (Updated December 14, 2023 at 7:49 am)

School carolling competition gets airport in holiday spirit

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