An original song by Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary School Mt Pritchard’s Year 3 Green class was one of the standout category winners of the Lockdown Arts Festival.

Written by Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary School Mt Pritchard music teacher, Samantha MacBride, and performed by the school’s Year 3 Green class, Windows is an emotive ballad about being hopeful for the future that lies ahead.

The song speaks about Year 3 Green’s own experiences of life in lockdown and was also influenced by Miss MacBride reflecting on the recent loss of her mother.

Performed virtually by Miss MacBride and Year 3 Green, Windows was one of 900 creative works submitted by Sydney Catholic Schools’ students, families and staff during the festival.

The song was awarded first prize in the Music – Performance, Primary Class category of the Sydney Catholic Schools’ Lockdown Arts Festival.

The bright side of life

Before writing the song, Miss MacBride said she asked Year 3 Green to reflect on their experiences of life in lockdown.

“I decided to ask the children about the things they missed, the things they were looking forward to, how life has changed and how they were feeling about getting back to normal,” Miss MacBride said.

“I used some of their reflections, words and phrases to then put the lyrics of the song together, with some of my own thoughts intermingled as well.”

Miss MacBride said she also set out to have the song speak about God’s role in helping us overcome adversity.

“In school, we talk about our strong faith in God to see us through tough times, so I wanted the song to have that element of hope” – Samantha MacBride

“That idea that God is there for us in the midst of difficult times, showing us that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

A virtual production

True to the spirit of the festival theme Looking outwards from a life in lockdown, the song was written, recorded and performed virtually, which Miss MacBride said posed a few challenges along the way.  

“The writing process was actually quicker than the production process!” she laughed.

“Initially we tried to record all the students together at the same time via Zoom but it’s pretty difficult to get good quality that way.

“What I then did was send a recording of myself singing the song to the students who, in turn, recorded themselves singing the song individually.

“Natasha Sechi, who is the teacher for 3 Green, was incredibly helpful with making it all happen” – Samantha MacBride

Miss MacBride, with the help of her two musical and tech-savvy husband and two sons, then mixed together the recordings and visuals to create the final product.

“There are some beautiful little voices in that class and they just gave it that sweet, innocent sound,” she said.

“I was really pleased with them, they sounded lovely.”

Missing Mum

In writing the song, Miss MacBride said she tapped into the grief she was experiencing after her mother sadly passed away earlier this year.

“For me personally, lockdown was a difficult time as I lost my mum two months ago,” Miss MacBride said.

“To be honest, the song-writing process came quite naturally and I found it really helpful as I was grieving for Mum and thinking about the good things we have in life and the things we have to look forward to” – Samantha MacBride

“Interestingly, I think when you’re grieving you go into yourself a bit and that probably had a bit of an impact in writing the song – I was already in that reflective mode and it just really helped me to focus on the things that I’m thankful for.”