STUDENTS from a school in Hampshire have joined together to form a virtual choir during lockdown.

The Ballard School, based in New Milton, has brought together its community of students, teachers, parents and alumni to create a virtual choir which helps keep the community connected during this period of nationwide school closures because of the coronavirus.

Members of the whole community of the independent school were invited to learn one part of Fly to Paradise by Eric Whitacre, choosing from the soprano, alto, tenor or bass parts, then record a video or audio file of themselves performing it.

All the recordings were brought together to create one performance piece, conceived and produced in-house by music teachers Victoria Gray and Barnaby Prangnell, which has now been shared with everyone in the school.

The finished article includes more than 100 members of the Ballard community singing together in, and along with footage of the singers, it also includes pupils dancing and clips of some of the activities children and families have been busy with during lockdown.

Victoria Gray, head of performing arts at Ballard School, said: "Music and performing are such a big part of school life at Ballard School, so it was really important for us to try to continue that now.

“We might all be confined to our own homes for now, but we have still been able to share in an experience of making music together which has been truly uplifting and rewarding – not to mention lots of fun. I commend all the pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school who took part.

“It was also particularly pleasing to see some of our alumni add their voices too, demonstrating the enduring strength of the Ballard family and how important that wider community is to the school.”

Former pupils taking part included Jay Harris and James Miller of popular band The Manatees, who were joined by voices from across the breadth of the Ballard family, from the youngest pupils to grandparents and extended family, prospective pupils to governors and staff – including the Headmaster.

Headmaster Andrew McCleave said: “I continue to be hugely impressed by the creativity and commitment of our fantastic team here at Ballard; they have risen to the considerable challenge presented by the closure of the school and the move to remote learning."

The Ballard School community song can be found here: