Choir students sing in COVID-19 support video

MINOT, N.D. – Two Minot State choir students participated in a collaborative music video to support essential workers.

Destiny Smestad, freshman elementary education major, and Sage Garrett, a sophomore interdisciplinary studies major, both sang for the cover of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”

Director of Choral Activities Emerson Eads mentioned the project to his students while they were attending virtual choir classes.

“I was invited by Cindy Oxberry, a director friend of mine from Washington National Opera,” Eads said. “I told the choir about it and offered it as an extra aside if they wished to participate.” We did invite Ms. Oxberry to direct and opera production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia in the Fall of 2018 with Western Plains Opera Company here on the campus of Minot University.

Both Smestad and Garrett have some experience in music. Smestad has been singing since fourth grade, and Garret has been playing the piano for over ten years.  He started singing when he joined the MSU choir.

They both knew the video would be part of a bigger movement than they have experienced before.

“I was hesitant at first whether or not to participate, but then I realized that this something that is going to make history,” said Smestad. “After seeing the finished product, I was really glad I participated because I can say I was a part of that!”

“I felt I wanted to be part of something that unites everyone in such times when physical distancing is required,” Garrett added.

Many people sent in their individual music tracks from all over the world. Smestad sang from Minot and Garrett from his home in Japan.

“The process was straightforward, using my phone to record, while listening to the sample on my laptop,” said Garrett. “It did not affect me much because I could do everything at home.”

Some big names performed in this video, including Broadway star Tony Vincent, who has also appeared on The Voice, and Alex Alexander, who has played drums for Chaka Kahn, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen. The organ in the video was played by Tommy Mandel, who played for Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi, and Jay Messina, sound engineer for Aerosmith, mixed it.

Neither Garrett nor Smestad had participated in a virtual music-making process like this before but are grateful to have done it.

“Doing things like this are tricky, but the end result is fascinating to listen to,” Smestad said.

The Champions video is part of a larger project by the The Jüdische Kulturbund COVID-19/The Oppressor to collect and curate art made in response to the pandemic and shared on social media. It has collected over 400 items by professional and amateur artists and everyday people. The group plans to create a documentary on this art and artists’ reactions to COVID-19, a true oppressor.

Watch the covid-19 support video on YOUTUBE.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 06/18/20   

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