The lyrics begin with “When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don’t be afraid of the dark.”
“You'll Never Walk Alone” is the classic inspirational show tune from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Carousel.”
It takes on new meaning during the coronavirus pandemic, which is why Brooklyn College Student Harrison Sheckler chose to record it with 300 musicians from around the world.
"He chose the perfect song, such an inspirational song," Brooklyn College Director of Choirs Malcolm Merriweather said.
Sheckler, who is working toward his masters in Piano Performance at Brooklyn College, was preparing to accompany the College Choir for performances in March at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic. Then, coronavirus changed everything.
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"It was going to be a great opportunity, and like so many other things it was cancelled," Sheckler says.
When Brooklyn College moved to remote instruction, Sheckler flew home to Iowa. A few days later, he started more than 200 hours of work on the project. When he was finished, it was bigger than he ever expected.
“I thought first I was just going to invite some of my local friends, and it kind of grew from there," Sheckler said.
It sure did. 60 instrumentalists and 240 vocalists, ranging from ages nine through their eighties from 15 countries, sent their cell phone video performances, and Sheckler edited them together with an iPhone app. He got a big boost when Merriweather and Conservatory Orchestra Director George Rothman asked their students to contribute.
“We are trying to keep the music alive, and we are keeping the music alive," Merriweather says. "Harrison's project is evidence of that.”
The piece was mixed and mastered over 30 hours by audio engineers at Zated Records in Cincinnati, where Sheckler did his undergraduate degree in Piano Performance at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
Now that the piece is complete and available on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, Sheckler says he hopes the lyrics "You'll Never Walk Alone," and the sound of 300 people coming together, will give folks some comfort and inspiration.
"I'm just so thankful for the response and that it could come at just the right time, when we need this hope," he says.
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