Difficult Semester Ends on a High Note When Dean Gives Virtual Gift of Hope to Graduates and the World
What started at the beginning of the pandemic as a means to uplift and unite the student body during a time of unprecedented transition, grew into a crowd sharing emotionally driven performance video of Dean Shelly Berg’s original composition written with his wife Julia, A TIME FOR HOPE. Featuring 66 members of the Frost School of Music student body, alumni, GRAMMY® winning faculty and staff, A TIME FOR HOPE consists of remotely recorded mostly-improvised performances of the song from their homes all over the world.
“We invited everyone to participate,” states Dean Shelly Berg, a multi GRAMMY nominated musician/composer in his own right. “What we received back in the form of mostly iPhone videos and home studio recordings was astounding. It took over a month to complete and turned out to be so moving, healing and truly special, that we unanimously decided to make it a part of our end of the school year virtual celebration.”
66 souls contributed a piece of themselves to bring A TIME FOR HOPE to life. What makes this so unique is aside from the choral arrangement, the rest of the musicians improvised their own interpretation of the song, which is at the heart of the Frost School of Music curriculum. Students are taught to be creative and bring a piece of themselves to their performances while they also receive unique cross-genre training.
More from the producer Rey Sanchez, Frost School’s Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation and a Professor of Music Business and Entertainment Industries:
- The choir members recorded individually, led by the Dr. Amanda Quist, Frost School’s Director of Choral Activities, as she conducted on video with piano accompaniment. The choir never heard anyone else’s as they recorded.
- The orchestra members also recorded their parts individually to the same conductor video with piano accompaniment. They never heard anyone else and THERE WERE NO WRITTEN PARTS for the orchestra! Most of them improvised their own parts while a few read from the choral score.
- A number of folks produced their own altogether individual versions, all radically different from each other.
- My job was to take all of those pieces and create ONE cohesive piece of music from all of those individual parts. It was akin to taking multiple pieces from different puzzles, mixing them up, and then try to assemble them into something that makes sense.
- After I was done, Gonzalo Mejia, the Director of Media Services for Frost, had to visualize my production by connecting the dozens of submitted video clips to my musical timeline and then arranging them on screen in a way that told the story of the underlying music.
- And we had a hard deadline of May 6, so we could present it at the end of year All School Forum!
A TIME FOR HOPE LYRICS
A time for hope
A time for joy
A time for happiness
That only love can bring
As nights grow long
We offer song
Our music opens hearts
To fill the world with peace
God is in music
Oh, hear our prayer
World without hunger
We ask for strength
To lend a hand
And rise above the fear to find our common ground
Come take my hand
In unity and light of love
Let’s make a promise
To fill the world with peace.
About Frost School of Music
The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music is one of the largest and most highly acclaimed music schools located in a private university in the U.S., and one of the most comprehensive and relevant in all of higher education. With over 700 students and 100 faculty members it is a top choice for instrumental, keyboard and vocal performance as well as composition, music business, music education, music engineering technology, music therapy, songwriting, jazz, studio music, and more. It is one of two schools created in 1926 when the University of Miami was founded. The naming gift from Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost in 2003 was a historic occasion. Consistently named one of the Top 10 music schools by Billboard Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter among numerous other media outlets, The Frost School of Music seeks to transform lives through the study and performance of music, and to enhance music’s future as the result of the most innovative and relevant curricula in higher education. For further information, visit: www.frost.miami.edu. Follow us at @FrostSchoolUM