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Holy Cross Science College

International Projects

International Christmas Charity Concert for UNICEF

Tuesday December 19th 2003 saw the fourth international charity concert for UNICEF, held simultaneously in London and Osaka, and linked by satellite ISDN video-conference equipment. Students at both the Holy Cross Science College, New Malden, Surrey, and Ikeda Junior High School always look forward to this event as one of the most exciting and warmly-felt moments of their school year.


Steve Byrne accompanies two choirs simultaneously,
one in London, and one in Osaka…..

Beginning at 09.00 (and at the start of the school day in London), and at 18.00 (after school has ended in Japan), the two schools shared the following hour of Christmas festivities, as planned through their email exchanges.

The Programme

    1. Opening : Both choirs sing "Jingle Bells" with accompaniment by Steve Byrne at Holy Cross, London. (See above)
    2. Introduction by Holy Cross about Christmas Cribs, and their significance.
      Introduction by Ikeda about fund-raising for the UNICEF Charity.
    3. Ikeda groups play four or five short pieces of music, including vocal ensemble and recorders.
    4. Ryu Tanaka sings a solo song, in JapaneseHoly Cross Science College
    5. The Holy Cross Choir sings some English Christmas songs
    6. Special Event
      Holy Cross shows Ikeda a Christmas story book, made by Alex Maher, and using ICT and Technology tools (See emails below)
    7. Special event
      Ikeda shows 'Mochitsuki' (see picture)
      This is Japanese traditional rice cake-making.
    8. Imprompovised drama session about Christmas, with Japanese and English students interacting, without prior practice. The theme: Mrs. Christmas wants Father Christmas to take a break from his duties, and interviews candidates for a substitute Father Christmas.
    9. Ending event : Both choirs sing " Auld Lang Syne" together, with accompaniment this time by Ikeda Junior High School.
    10. At 10.00 London time - End of video link-up


Here, the Ikeda Deputy Head teacher
can be seen bashing the daylights out
some rice, with a huge wooden mallet,
to make it glutinous. Watch fingers!

Reactions by students and teachers to the event provide excellent examples of the power of the new technologies to develop an understanding of different cultures. As such, they fit beautifully under the new Global Citizenship banner in the UK, and support the new citizenship initiative in Japan. Here are two emails from Japan, explaining what was learnt, and showing the warmth of feeling between the two countries:

Dear Mr. Williams and the Holy Cross students,

Thank you for giving me the chance to spend a wonderful time with all of you at the concert! We all enjoyed seeing and listening to your marvellous performances. The Ikeda students got to know your traditions for Christmas, and I think it's a really good thing.

In Japan, Christmas is a time of a year when all the couples get together and give expensive presents to each other, and when children get to eat Christmas cakes, so it was good to know the real meaning of Christmas, through English Christmas traditions.

Please pass this message to Alex Maher, for me.

Dear Alex,

I enjoyed seeing your wonderful Christmas pop-up book. It was filled with unique ideas and we all loved it very much. I loved the beautiful sequins and the little letter to Father Christmas in the book. I was surprised to hear that you used real feathers for the robin in the book. I loved the snowflakes, though I couldn't really see them well. I hope some day, I can visit your school and see it!

Thank you for showing us your lovely book. I'm sure your Technology teacher will love it!

I hope you will have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!




Hello! We're the chairpersons; Minami and Sayumi. The Charity Concert was wonderful! It was our first time to be included in it and also being a chairperson. We were very nervous because we didn't know how the system worked, but we think we had a great experience, and hope to do it again.

Thank you so much for the Christmas Crib tapestry, the pop up book, the beautiful songs and the drama. We were surprised to hear the same song, "Happy Christmas". We sang it together. while the students in Holy Cross sang. I think it was great to sing it together. Maybe we can sing other songs together also. We were surprised how positive the students in Holy Cross were when we asked for volunteers to do the drama. We felt the difference about the culture a little.

Thank you very much again for your kindness, and we hope we can have a communication with you and the students in Holy Cross again.

Yours sincerely,

Minami and Sayumi



Dear Alex,

Hello! We're the chairpersons; Minami and Sayumi. The pop-up book was marvellous! We loved how you made it. I, Minami, especially liked how you made the fence with many popsicle sticks. It reminded me of the ice pops that I ate a lot of while I was in NewYork, and I used them in my Art class, too. I, Sayumi, especially like the robin. It was very cute! I liked the way you used real feathers. I think it was a great idea. We also enjoyed other pages such as the Christmas tree made out of felt, and the letter that was in an envelope. We think you are very talented!

Thank you so much for the pop-up book and the song, and everything ! We hope to see you again on the screen and perhaps we can see each other some day.

Yours sincerely,

Minami and Sayumi



And from the teachers:

Dear Ryu and the Ikeda Team,

Thank you for giving us all, once again, the loveliest possible start to Christmas. This concert is always my favourite moment of the year.

We hope that we showed you:

  • the religious side of our Christmas, with the Christmas Crib tapestry;
  • the charity side of our Christmas, with the gifts of shoe boxes of gifts for the needy;
  • and the educational side of Christmas, with the lovely word-processed and illustrated story book which Alex (also our Chair person) made entirely by herself. (See below)

Holy Cross Science College

Alex shows the Ikeda students a page from her Christmas pop-up book

We all enjoyed the lovely Ikeda singing, and a solo Japanese song, too, from a very good friend. Please thank all of the students who sang, played, worked on the drama, and chaired the event at different stages. They are all a great credit to a great school.

Please also thank your Deputy Head for showing us how to make glutinous rice. And without injuring any of his students! Please tell him that, as a teacher, I know just how tempting this can be, sometimes.....

I am sending you some JPEGs of the event, as seen from this side of the world.

Please tell your excellent students how much we have enjoyed working with them all, but also that I am working to develop parts of the MirandaNet web site at the Institute of Education, London University, for World Ecitizenship. On the web site will be the STAR work (with Ikeda), the last drama lesson (with Ikeda), and the Christmas Charity Concert (also with Ikeda).

There is a pattern here, if you look carefully.......

With love from us all,

Lawrence, Steve, and the Holy Cross Christmas Charity Team

Global Citizenship is alive and well, thanks to the new ICT technologies!

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