Video blends 500 student voices in ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ rendition

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 11:20 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Over 500 voices of Henrico County Public Schools students were combined to make a new video rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in response to racial strife and national division.

The video is made up of individual home recordings from choral students from each of the division’s nine high schools.

Glen Allen High School senior, Lauren Relaford, explains the project’s aim in an introduction to the video.

“It was powerful,” Lauren said. “It was moving because you can’t sing music without emotion, you can’t sing music without feeling, you can’t sing without connecting to some word or lyric.”

Henrico County’s School choral instructors came up with the idea to unite all of its choral students in a video as a way to help them feel connected during the separation brought by the pandemic.

“Over the summer we got together and said, how can we make this year special for our students because we had no idea at that point and time how long we were going to be virtual,” said Sherri Matthews, choral director at Glen Allen High School, who helped organize the project. “We sensed that our students were feeling lonely, but also frustrated, scared even. and so we were like music can soothe the soul.”

The students worked with instructions to make the recording of the 1970 song. Some students chose not to show their faces and only submitted audio recordings.

“This project shows our kids leading the way and teaching the adults what unity is about,” Mathews said. “We felt like that was an important thing. While the project was supposed to be finished in the fall, it’s just as relevant today as it was then.”

The project got started last summer and finally come to fruition in May. Universal Music Publishing Group gave the division right to use the song for the project for only $1.

HCPS faculty staff hope that even when physically apart these students can lead the way to show the community that no matter what problems arise, they’re all in this together.

“We’ve all needed to be bridges of peace for each other we’ve all needed to give that support to each other,” Lauren said. “Even when we’re not in person we have to be there because we’re human that’s our nature.”

You can listen to the video below:

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