Singing Reflection?

I am sure most people will agree with me that this year has been a tough one, COVID-19 became a massive challenge for organising activities around the world, and indeed in Concord. Safety precautions and measures such as year group ‘bubbles’ and avoiding big group meetups meant that one of the most celebrated event in the Concord calendar was cancelled, the Winter Showcase.

Every year, students and staff at Concord College organise a stage production to be put on in Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury for charity donations. The public are encouraged to come and donate by purchasing a ticket; but with that ticket, they are promised a refreshing and entertaining couple of hours, giving them a taste of different cultures as our students from all around the globe show us what their country has to offer.

It was disappointing knowing the physical showcase had to be cancelled, but we were super excited to be told that it will still go on in another format – as a film. A film circling around the topic of reflection, perfect for this year. Different groups of students got to take part and organise, it seemed perfect… But who could have guessed other countries then put a travel ban on the UK, delaying the entire film. No matter how challenging the circumstances are though, there is always a way. We therefore went online, and planned it virtually. From then on, preparation for the film was non-stop.

For the entire time, I was involved in two pieces, including a drama piece reflecting on the uncertainty about our exams from last year, and another one about my hometown Hong Kong. The first piece was relatively straight forward, thanks to both actors being in the country. It did take a couple of takes, and some time for the Internet to go our way, but we were able to rehearse and record online ahead of the deadline.

The second piece was Hong Kong culturally-inspired, focusing on how negativity can bring us down during adversity, thus how we should express ourselves and keep heading in the right direction – extremely meaningful. However, its organisational progress was a drastically different story: cancellation of flights, quarantine and examinations meant we did not have the time to rehearse or record as planned. So we had to rely on, again, the Internet and some self-discipline. We sent music and dance demos to our friends back in Hong Kong, asked them to learn it, keep practicing, as we have to record it immediately after we are all back in the country. That was a tall order, due to a hectic schedule and a 7-hour time difference. Yet, by constantly staying updated and reflecting our progress, we were able to make this a possibility on 1st April.

On April Fools, we did not go around and prank people (maybe a couple, actually…), but we went to the well-equipped Morris Building to work on our film. Took us one afternoon, 4 people, a guitar, a piano, a microphone, and a laptop. That was all we needed to record our singing piece. In the other room, 6 more people, and one camera. That was all we needed to record our dancing piece. As the Vice President of Hong Kong Society, I have to say after that afternoon, upon reflection, I felt so proud and happy, that we were able to do that. To have achieved this feat even when everyone else told us it was impossible to complete such a complex act. But we did it.

This is the spirit and joy this community bless us with; the unique atmosphere of “getting things done” but also having fun, it just feels amazing. I cannot describe how much I cherish and appreciate: this feeling, and this Concord family. Good show everyone!

Kenneth – 6.1

A Celebration of Identity

Last weekend, we held our annual winter concert at Theatre Severn. Over 300 students from the college actively participated in the showcase and put together spectacular performances.

As one of the most highly anticipated events on the college calendar, it certainly did not disappoint. Under the guidance of Miss Perrins, Miss Russell, Mr Bannister and Ms Love, the various Heads of Societies worked hard to pull together performances that encapsulated the essence of their country’s identity. Members of the societies then worked tirelessly behind the scenes to perfect their performances.

Audiences truly witnessed a burst of colour on stage, with performances ranging from Indian Society’s dynamic traditional dance to Korean Society’s captivating Taekwondo routine. Not forgetting the drama performances that really tugged at heartstrings and a lively musical item by our Form 3 group of students. The ensemble, choir and wind group were also truly breath-taking. We showcased our wide range of talents not only to the general Shrewsbury public but also to the rest of the world, as the entire showcase was live-streamed in real time.

The showcase culminated with the finale ‘This is Me’ in celebration of each and every one of our unique identities and the harmonious diversity that Concord College embraces. It was truly a night to remember, to say the least!

Michelle – 6.2

Malaysian Society – Concord Showcase Preparations

As the Heads of Concord’s Malaysian Society (MSOC), one of the main challenges faced whilst running MSOC for the Concord Showcase was scheduling. We had around 45 people performing for our society, all with other commitments, that usually take priority over the rehearsals. Thankfully, we were able to divide and conquer by splitting up the team and having the three different segments of our performance – being the Indian, Malay, and Chinese dances, rehearsed separately, in times that best fitted everyone’s busy schedules.

We were also fortunate to have many talented individuals who volunteered to help with choreographing and leading their segments. We Presidents, on the other hand, (who apart from Xin didn’t have much experience in choreographing a dance) focused on liaising with the organising staff. We discussed practices, created the backing track for the three songs, and found costumes for the three distinct cultures that we represented in our performance. With four Presidents in the society, we not only had a large pool of ideas to choose from, but it was also easier to carry out tasks as we could share the load equally.

We are extremely thankful for having the opportunity to run MSOC. Being so far away from home and still having a community of individuals from the same country is a godsend. Interactions with other members during practice sessions, meetings and even our group texts all felt very comfortable and welcoming. Everyone was able to bond with each other through talking about news from back home. In general, as a society, we understand our native ‘slang’ and all have a great time together. We have got each other’s backs so to speak, and are able to rely on one another for a reminder of home whenever we need it.

Keith, Xin, Kar Mun and Bill – 6.2