Nfld. & Labrador

COVID-19 stealing kids' Christmas concerts in Corner Brook, but glimmer of holiday spirit remains

While there are no school Christmas concerts at the Corner Brook Arts & Culture Centre this year, some local entertainers have found ways to put on a concert with limited seating.

Restrictions mean no school shows this year, but some local artists have the green light

Krista Hansen-Robitschek, who manages the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre, says she's delighted to see limited performances on the stage again. (Colleen Connors/CBC )

Parents and grandparents can't pile into the Corner Brook Arts & Culture Centre this December to snap a picture of their little ones on stage this Christmas, but as COVID-19 rules cancel the annual tradition, some artists — both big and small — are finding a workaround.

"We will miss it, because the little ones are just so special,"  said manager Krista Hansen-Robitschek.

"Even up to Grade 6.… You see the same children year after year, and you see them grow."

Graham Academy's youngest performers practise their Christmas songs wearing masks and standing six feet apart. (Colleen Connors/CBC )

During a regular year, the stage would be blocked with school concerts during weekdays in November and December, with other Christmas concerts taking up every weekend. 

But, she says, some local entertainers have found ways to pull off a holiday show on the local stage, following health guidelines.

Spaced apart

"We will put three seats between you and the next group of people. And every second row is blocked off," she said.

"You will be required to wear a mask when you enter the theatre. All staff and patrons, when moving through the theatre, have a mask on. And when you are seated you can take your mask off and watch the show."

We just want to make a safe and enjoyable atmosphere- Krista Hansen-Robitschek

Hansen-Robitschek says groups must book their seats within their bubble. There is no intermission, and shows are around an hour long, with the theatre aiming to keep capacity at 100, including performers.

WATCH | Colleen Connors reports on a workaround in Corner Brook to replace some school Christmas concerts: 

Finding a workaround for Christmas concerts

2 years ago
Duration 2:44
Traditional school concerts will not be happening this year, but as Colleen Connors reports, work is underway in Corner Brook for a different kind of celebration

"We just want to make a safe and enjoyable atmosphere," she said.

Most entertainers are booking multiple nights to accommodate the new, limited seating situation.

COVID workaround

One group that offers private music lessons in Corner Brook discovered a COVID-19 workaround, so all their young students can take part in their upcoming Christmas show on Dec. 18.

Graham Academy's youngest performers, who are four and five years old, will record their song and air it during the concert.

Ian Locke of the Graham Academy is recording some of his student's performances and airing them during the Christmas concert to cut down on numbers on stage. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"It gives the children an opportunity to perform and be out there," said instructor Ian Locke. "Christmas is such a performing highlight for many young students."

Students practise their Christmas songs and plays wearing masks, standing six feet apart. 

After months of online performances, Locke is just delighted to return to the stage, even though it's on a smaller, safer scale.

"We are so happy to be back, because we haven't been there since last Christmas," he said.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Colleen Connors reports on western Newfoundland from CBC's bureau in Corner Brook.

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