VIDEO: 300 Artists Unite for Virtual Performance of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'

By: May. 01, 2020

VIDEO: 300 Artists Unite for Virtual Performance of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'

A Brooklyn College student and accomplished pianist has brought together a mix of 300 musicians from 15 different countries for a virtual video performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic, "You'll Never Walk Alone," from the musical "Carousel" which was released on May 1 at 9 a.m. eastern., on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Harrison Sheckler collected the digital contributions from a small army for more than a month and recently had the project professionally produced by Josh Meyer and Grant Bayer of Zated Records in Ohio, who Sheckler met while earning his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance in 2019 at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Now a student of renowned pianist/composer and Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music professor Jeffrey Biegel, Harrison is working toward his Masters in Piano Performance degree, while spending well over 200 hours promoting, organizing submissions, and video editing the project.

Soliciting help online for the project through a network of musical connections, Sheckler received tracks from countries all over the world, including the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Vietnam, Israel, Australia, South Africa, and others. The audio engineers at Zated Records also spent 30 hours mixing and mastering the 300 tracks.

"I left New York City on March 14, anticipating a short absence," said Sheckler, who turned 24 in April. "The Brooklyn College Choir had been preparing for performances with the New York Philharmonic, and then that was gone. Arriving home in Iowa, I found comfort in playing this beautiful song from the musical 'Carousel,' which coincidentally is celebrating its 75th anniversary. I embarked on collaborating online like so many others are doing. I am excited about the positive response and am looking forward to sharing the final production with the world. What started to fill the void of music collaboration has evolved to new meaning for me with the lengthened quarantine. Hopefully, the words, 'you'll never walk alone,' along with the visual of 300 people joining together offers the audience some comfort and peace during this time."

Reflective of the world in which we are now living, Sheckler completed his project from his parents' home in Iowa, where he returned in March, while engaging in distance learning with Brooklyn College classes. Brooklyn College's Director of Choirs, Malcolm Merriweather, and Conservatory Orchestra Director George Rothman, both asked their students to contribute to the piece.

Merriweather lauded his student's effort.

"Harrison has been the accompanist for our symphonic choir for the past year, and he has captured our hearts with his spirit and talents," said Merriweather. "It is not surprising that Harrison independently came up with a fantastic idea to create a virtual ensemble. And, he could not have selected a more appropriate song. The first line of this song, 'When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high,' has provided inspiration and solace for our students. To support Harrison, I incorporated his project into my distance-learning syllabus. I can't wait to hear the final product!"

Rothman was also grateful for his student's work.

"Harrison's unique creativity during these unusual and trying times has provided a much-needed uplifting experience for our orchestra students," Rothman said. "The themes of comfort and community resonate universally and symbolize what the conservatory does best-connecting emotionally with our peers, families, and communities through music and performance. Refocusing their creative energies toward bringing Harrison's vision to life helped ease the disappointment of missing our March live concert. We are all grateful to Harrison for thinking of this project and putting it together so quickly for the conservatory's students."