Music faculty show support for students through new video of ‘You’ve Got a Friend’

by | May 11, 2020

Director of Choral Studies Jim Henry was the driving force behind the project, which was produced over several weeks with mixing and editing by student Kolin Keith.
UMSL faculty remote ensemble

UMSL music faculty members came together remotely to perform “You’ve Got a Friend” in a new video available on YouTube.

Michael Smith and his colleagues in the Department of Music at the University of Missouri–St. Louis have been moved by the resilience they’ve seen from their students over these past two months with so much of day-to-day life interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They devised a way to try to show their appreciation and care by performing a version of “You’ve Got a Friend,” the Carole King song that James Taylor made a No. 1 hit in 1971.

Smith, who chairs the Department of Music, said Director of Choral Studies Jim Henry was the driving force behind the project, which was produced over several weeks.

“While the faculty discussed and chose the song together at a faculty meeting, it was Dr. Henry who arranged the song, assigned the parts, recorded the tracks, and took care of all of the myriad details that made the project possible,” Smith said.

Adaron Jackson, the director of the David and Thelma Institute for Jazz Studies at UMSL, took the lead on the piano and other colleagues sang and providing musical accompaniment.

Rising junior Kolin Keith, a choral music education major, volunteered to mix and edit the individual recordings into a seamless package.

“The faculty was inspired by the resilience of our music students and the sense of community that the Music Department shares,” Smith said. “Even as we first began to pivot to virtual and distance learning, we found our students to be so ready and eager to continue to work, to study, despite the challenges, and to really simply continue to sincerely care for one another. You can’t make music without making community. And the music faculty and the students truly bond through rehearsals and the time spent together in the studio. Music knows no social distance.”

To view the video, click below.

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik

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