Virtual concert goes global

17 Apr 2020

Air cadets tuned up for a virtual symphony of music which set the airwaves pumping across the world.

Scores of cadets from across the UK, performed from their own homes due to the COVID-19 lockdown and their composition of Toto’s song ‘Africa’ definitely hit the right note.

Even Sky News and British Forces Broadcasting Service picked up on the musical initiative and ran the uplifting story as the talented cadets absolutely proved that distance was no object when it comes to playing music together.

They managed the online performance using nothing but a click-track and recorded using their mobile phones.  That was then edited by volunteer staff.

Principal Clarinetist, Cadet Flight Sergeant Annabel Garrod, 17, from Lincolnshire said: “It has been a truly unique and inspiring experience that has given us all hope and a huge sense of achievement during these strange times.

“It was incredible to work as a team despite the distance between us all.

“It’s definitely shown the potential we have as a band when we are next able to come together in person, but we also hope it’s brought a smile to everyone’s face.”

The video of the performance went viral overnight, reaching more than 55,000 people worldwide within the first 24 hours then extending to an audience of 150,000 globally.

The National Concert Band of the RAF Air Cadets was meant to be marking its 25th anniversary over Easter weekend with a public concert, performed at the end of a week-long residential camp. When the lockdown was brought into force, the band had to devise a new plan.

A virtual ensemble was formed by National Concert Band’s Director of Music, Squadron Leader Steph Godwin and the organisation’s Bandmaster, Warrant Officer James Whicher.

The enthusiasm of the cadets and their parents enabled many of the challenges imposed by social distancing to be overcome, such as the inability to rehearse and record together and the fact that some cadets were new to the band and had never met in person.

Without some percussion instruments at home, cadets even improvised using pans and a box.

Commandant RAFAC, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty said: “I could not be prouder of the way in which our cadets, volunteers and staff have responded so positively to the loss of face-to-face activity whilst we all join in the national fight against COVID-19 and support the NHS and other services.

“This week, thousands of air cadets would have been enjoying camps and activities across the UK, including music.

“Such is the spirit and positivity of our young people, they have overcome the odds to create a wonderful performance, all playing from their homes, dressed smartly in their uniforms and displaying their amazing talents.

“I am so proud of them all and hope this performance brings joy to many.”

Based on the success of the project, RAFAC Music Services will release further virtual musical performances in the days and weeks to come so please watch out on the RAFAC’s  national Facebook site.

The video and viral post is available for viewing at:

Also available for viewing and recently uploaded to:

*For cadets and staff interested in joining RAFAC please visit:

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