Orchestra performs See You Again by Wiz Khalifa via Zoom

Liberty Orchestra

By Lucas Barr, Liberty High School - TX

With COVID-19 closing campus until at least May 1, a short video from the orchestra officers grew into a much different kind of viral sensation. Over the last few days, a pieced-together performance of See You Again by Wiz Khalifa by students has gained over 354,000 views on the Frisco ISD Facebook page, and has even gotten the attention of local media

Edited by assistant director Victoria Lien, the 24-member virtual orchestra started as an effort to lift student spirits.

“We had asked our officers for ideas on how to help boost morale and this was one idea,” Lien said. “We asked them for some song suggestions and we thought this one, though somewhat cliche, was fitting.”

Speaking to FOX4 News along with Lien, orchestra director Julie Blackstock was surprised to see how well the performance was received online.

“I knew it sounded great, because Victoria did a great job of editing all this together, but I did not think it would happen like this,” Blackstock said. “We really were just intending it for our little orchestra family, but the sentiment at the end is the same for everybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s our Liberty orchestra family or around the world. We did not expect it to blow up. It was just for fun but the message of music speaks loud and clear.” 

As the fate of events like prom and graduation hangs in the balance, cellist and senior Daniel Nagles views the video as a way to keep the program connected.

“I had an absolute joy being a part of the ‘See You Again’ video,” Nagles said. “It was fun being able to collaborate with everyone to make something special for orchestra. I think we made a lot of orchestra members happy with it, one way or another, and that is more than I could ask for.”

For Lien, the next step is putting together a new video of students performing the school’s alma mater, but now with choir and band students as well. As she works to help keep spirits strong, Lien has a message for students adapting to eLearning.

“I think everyone to some degree or another is missing school,” Lien said. “It’s difficult for everyone to get into a new schedule or “norm”, and it is weird to not see teachers of friends. I hope that the students who are struggling reach out to someone, reach out to a teacher, or another student. It is so easy to get into the rhythm of just finishing our work, but we have the luxury of modern technology. Chances are, others feel the same way you do too and it just helps to talk to someone again. For those you might not be struggling as much, reach out to check if people are okay. It means a lot to just get a message saying “Hey, I hope you are doing okay.”

This story was originally published on Wingspan on April 3, 2020.