HELENA — From elementary to middle school, holiday music concerts have changed over the past two years due to COVID-19. Yet despite the need to adapt, the holiday cheer is still in the air for students.
Last year there was no holiday program for students at Jefferson Elementary
“Strange empty. What month is it? Why am I not tired?,” said Margeret O’Connor, a Jefferson Elementary School music teacher.
O’Connor says this year although the performances for the holidays are virtual, they are still impactful.
“It's really been two years since I've done any sort of December program and across the district, I think so it's been fun too watch them get back into the resilient little tiny performers that they are,” said O’Connor.
And Jefferson Elementary Principal Lona Carter says this year is a step closer to normal.
“Although this isn't exactly how we like to do It is a step in the right direction and I feel like this entire year has been us taking steps back to or forward into something that feels more like what we want to be here for our students and our families,” said Carter.
Across town at C.R. Anderson Middle School, the band, orchestra and choir teachers say music has never been needed more.
“My colleagues, I think, said it better than I did, my band colleague here at CR, his comment was we're back We are back we have been playing so much music and we've been playing it for audiences and music is alive and well and it's strong,” said Kevin Cleary, C.R. Anderson Orchestra Director.
The school music teachers could not have performed without the support of families and the community.
“Not only were they supportive last year when we were doing a lot of virtual concerts, they've been super supportive this year as we're trying to transition back into something new and a little bit different. So we really do appreciate community support,” said Cleary.
And looking back on the school year, Principal Carter is happy to just see the kids in person.
“I can't tell you what a delight it is to have kids in our school five days a week so much closer to being back to quote-unquote normal. It is so good for them they need to be in school. We want them here every single day and we're starting to see them blossom and grow after a really difficult time for them and their families,” said Carter.