Vocal Students Respond to COVID-19

During crises, arts organizations often struggle, but art also flourishes. In historic crises, art binds communities together, comments on human experience, and rallies people to a cause. I asked BU Singers to be a part of the inevitable wave of art engendered by this crisis, and respond to the time that we live in. Through their projects, we give voice to the reactions this catastrophe has had on university students.

Program: Clear Waters in Venice

I wanted to respond to COVID-19 by finding the positives in these dark times. Nature has been flourishing in places like Venice and parts of California, so I wanted to highlight that in an accessible, engaging program.

Madison Lamothe

Remote Chamber Music: Mendelssohn's Volkslied

Mendelssohn’s “Volkslied” Op. 63, No. 5 speaks to the realization, brought about by isolation, that the solace provided by another person is invaluable.

Katie Tiemeyer and Caroline Bourg

O wert thou in the cauld blast,
On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
My plaidie to the angry airt,
I’d shelter thee, I’d shelter thee;
Or did Misfortune’s bitter storms
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw
Thy bield should be thy bosom,
To share it a’, to share it a’.

O were I in the wildest waste
Sae black and bare, sae black and bare,
The desert were a Paradise,
If thou wert there, if thou wert there.
Or were I Monarch o’ the globe,
Wi’ thee to reign, wi’ thee to reign,
The brightest jewel in my Crown
Wad be my Queen, wad be my Queen.

Robert Burns

Barbershop Composition: Six Feet Apart

My project responds to COVID 19 how I respond to most things that make me uncomfortable: with sarcasm and humor. The lyrics comment on classic Barbershop tropes, how people are trying to feel normal in this pandemic, and how it’s impossible to be anywhere close to normal.

The moment I saw you across the street,

I saw you singing a love song clear and sweet.
I felt my heart pounding, but I’m quarantined. I am so blue. 
But there are still some things that we could do.
We’ll go on our one government sanctioned walk a day, six feet apart. We can’t use our hands for holding so they’ll make a heart. I’ll buy you a gift that shows I care (like toilet paper) — I don’t care what I have to pay
If we leave a six foot gap, we can dance the night away.
I could cook you dinner if your table is six feet wide, 

Or have a romantic picnic… if we both stay inside.
We could play games (Yahtzee!) or go horse back riding
Long as it’s on x-box live,

I’ll stare longingly into your eyes

on Zoom at a quarter to five.
This love will make it 
Long as we take it 
Six feet apart.


Isaac Boll

Remote Chamber Group: Earth Song / Frank Ticheli

“Earth Song” was released in 2009 as part of a choral album called Wondrous Love. It is a tribute to the restorative powers of music in the face of pain, loss, and darkness on this Earth. In these trying times of COVID-19, the patience and compassion of humanity is being tested. Ticheli’s piece reminds us that despite overwhelming despair, not all is hopeless. Music offers us light, love, unity, and peace. Music reminds us to take a step back from all that is crashing around us, and simply recognize that we are not alone in our sorrows. We must remain united, and focus on the joy of being here now, together.


Saskia Den Boom and Xander Stephan


Sing, Be, Live, See.
This dark stormy hour,
The wind, it stirs.
The scorched earth cries out in vain:
O war and power, you blind and blur,
The torn heart cries out in pain.
But music and singing have been my refuge,
And music and singing shall be my light.
A light of song shining Strong:
Through darkness, pain, and strife,
I’ll sing, I’ll be, live, see…


Frank Ticheli

Program: To Music, to Becalm His Fever

To Music, to becalm his Fever: Songs of Hope, Prayer, and Perseverance in Response to Covid-19.

Of the things that I have had to miss of my senior year, the loss of time and performances in BU Choirs is one of the hardest losses to swallow. I wanted to program a concert for an ensemble that has been a home to me for the past four years. Thank you Dr. Mariah Wilson for giving me some of the most emotionally impactful experiences I have had as a musician.

Maddie Mackey

Composition: The Spread of Chaos

People are buying supplies in bulk, selfishly obtaining more than they need– leaving nothing on the shelves for other people.
The chaos is spreading rapidly as people transfer its illness by not practicing social distance.
People go out to highly populated events and areas, figuring that they’ve got nothing to lose– putting other lives at risk.
Quarantined for the purpose of less people becoming sick.
Forced to go home to their toxic families, some people cannot escape until this pandemic blows over. Hang in there– push through!
stop the spreading of ignorance– Only we can stop the spread. Stop the spreading of ignorance. only we can stop it– only us. It’s up to us.


Ray Nichols

Composition: The Hollow Men

My project is a response to the inept government response to COVID-19, the government’s actions were too little too late, and I believe the text reflects this in its own way.

Ben Gorelick

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

T. S. Eliot

1 Man Choir: Don't Worry

For my project, I decided to do a one man choir of the song Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin. My intent was to spread some positivity in the midst of the extremely negative impact of Covid-19. All of my friends and family have been panicking over the virus, and rightfully so, but at the end of the day worrying doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s important to remember that although these are obviously difficult times it will all be over eventually. I am forever thankful to music for always being able to shine some light through all the darkness.

Jack Humphrey

Program: Singing To Remember

From the perspective of life 5 years post-COVID, this program is set up to tell a story of what some of us experience”d” before, during, and after the Pandemic of 2020. The songs lead us through the following emotional states: life as normal/denial, loneliness, hoping for the best, stir craziness, fear/surrounding death, acceptance, lifting of restrictions/cautious optimism, reflection on past/ living life to the fullest, and unbridled joy!

Kaley Briden

1 Woman Choir: Madre Luna

I chose the piece “Madre luna,” a nocturne by Iván Enrique Rodríguez, because since I’ve been back home after the COVID-19 outbreak, I’ve felt the need for peace and silence amid all the news and panic, which I feel like this piece evokes. I sang this piece for the first time in 2015 with the San Juan Children’s Choir, and by singing and working on it now I have remembered simpler times and have found refuge and solemnity in the prayer aspect of it. Overall, this piece has been a helpful tool in order to reflect on the current circumstances in a peaceful way.


Nadya Rachid

Composition: In Times of Trouble

In my project “In Times of Trouble”, I respond to Covid-19 by reminding the listener to look towards the oncoming, forward hope that will come and bring relief to those in suffering and in need.

Joseph Sedarski

Remote Chamber Group: Northern Lights / Gjeilo

We wanted to respond to COVID-19 by focusing on something that’s permanent while all of our lives are being turned upside down, so we chose a piece about one of the most permanent natural wonders the world has to offer: the northern lights.


Hannah Ince and Ryan Van Fleet

Program: A World Made Fresh

During these times of pain and sickness, we wonder where our Father, God, in this case, is? We ask for his forgiveness and to release us from this darkness and to make us better humans after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lindsey Scholars will showcase this with a variety of selections to promote our worship and prayer in his mighty name.

Rozime Lindsey

"my heart bleeds for my city"

by Jillian Agona | 6º of Separation

Composition: "my heart bleeds for my city"

This song is my response to how covid-19 has impacted myself, family, and community:

My heart bleeds for my city
So many sick and dying, dying
I’d hoist New York up on my shoulders
So many sick and crying, crying

I can see the neighbors strolling slowly down the street
Fragile bodies close and yet so lonely
Six degrees of separation creeping out in feet
Mourn for the city that never sleeps

My heart aches for my family
For my sister far away, far away
I’d hold my grandma in my arms
And tell her that she didn’t have to stay

I can see the neighbors strolling slowly down the street
Fragile bodies close and yet so lonely
Six degrees of separation creeping out in feet
Mourn for the country of the free

Shut up, hiding in my room
I feel the dim light of the moon
on my face
No friend to talk to, no love to share
Inhibitions cold and bare
In this place

I can see the neighbors strolling slowly down the street
Fragile bodies close and yet so lonely
Six degrees of separation creeping out in feet
Isolation, anticipation, growing numbers on a blaring screen
Mourn for your family, city, country
For all the victims of COVID-19

Jillian Agona

Program: "The Next Time" Vlog Concert

The theme of my concert is the journey from helplessness to helpfulness through the hopefulness we feel in connection with others.

Anna Carolina Pelaes

comments and reactions?   email me at mariahcw@bu.edu