Watch: Local students inspire with virtual choir performance amid coronavirus

South Shore Children’s Chorus students with Founding Artistic Director Kirsten Oberoi, front center image courtesy of SSCC

Past and present students from the South Shore Children’s Chorus perform “Beautiful City” in a video posted to YouTube Sunday. – In a time when it’s impossible to gather in-person, 40 students from the South Shore Children’s Chorus got in front of their cameras and sang together, hoping to lift spirits as the COVID-19 outbreak paused their spring programming.

“I wanted to give these students an opportunity to sing together at least one more time, because who knows what’s going to happen,” said Kirsten Oberoi, the chorus’s founding artistic director. 

The chorus posted a video to YouTube on Sunday, showing every student’s screen spliced together as they each sang their part for “Beautiful City,” a song from “Godspell,” written by Stephen Schwartz and arranged by Mac Huff.

As of Tuesday, the performance had already garnered 2,572 views.

Oberoi said after each student sent her individual videos, she fused them together. The process, she said, took over 50 hours of work and about five straight days.

“My husband’s downstairs like, ‘Did you eat today?’ and I’m like, ‘Must do the audio editing,’” she said. “To be honest I wasn’t expecting it to take that long, but when I saw how committed they were, I knew that my commitment to them would be I need to make this the best quality that I possibly can.”

She said to “use the instrument that’s built inside of yourself” is one of the most human things someone can do. 

South Shore Children’s Chorus’s Virtual Choir: Beautiful City, from Godspell

“And when you see different students from different communities from different backgrounds all coming together to sing those lyrics together,” Oberoi said, “I think that that’s really moving to anyone who watches it.”

The chorus, which functions as a non-audition training program, groups young singers from Braintree, Foxboro, Norwell, Winchester, Fairhaven, Brockton, Quincy, and Rockland among others.

Oberoi said she didn’t understand how powerful the project would be until the kids started sending her their videos and saw the dedication to the lyrics on each of their faces. 

“I thought, this is just the perfect message that people need to hear right now,” she said. “The lyrics are just so poignant that I really think that this could be something that touches a lot of people and gives hope to a lot of people.”

As the video continues to spike in views across Facebook and YouTube, Oberoi said she hopes people also relate to the unique humanity that comes from watching kids sing. 

“That’s a really vulnerable position to put yourself in as a human being,” she said. 

And as much as the video impacted the community, making it impacted the students, too. 

“They feel like they are making a change in this, and I don’t know that I necessarily saw that coming but I’m so glad that that is a result,” Oberoi said. “That’s so important for kids right now — I mean they’re stuck. They’re inside their houses, they can’t see their friends, they can’t do activities they love, and so to feel like they can have some sort of impact on the greater community in this time where none of us saw this coming and we never thought we’d see something like this in our lifetime, it’s really making them excited.”