When Shanghai American School student Matthew ’23 realized how serious the COVID-19 outbreak was getting, he wanted to do something to help. Penning a song and creating a music video to help raise awareness seemed like a no-brainer for the Grade 9 student, who just last year, wrote a brass quintet piece that took first place in the K-8 category of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) 2019 Student Composers Competition.
Together with 11 other SAS students, most of whom were fellow Grade 9-ers, and based in locations spanning Shanghai, Taipei, New York City, and a tiny, tiny village in Jiangsu, the team got to work. “I completed the composition in about four days. The musicians were so impatient to get started recording their sections that I was sending out music parts even before the lyrics were written!” Matthew exclaimed. That was just the start of an exhausting but also exhilarating process of recording, producing and sourcing visuals for their video, as well as identifying how the money they raised could help, and a foundation they could work with.
“We are partnering with the Beijing Chunmiao Foundation,” Matthew said. Initially, the team wanted to set up a website of their own to collect the donations, but was quickly told that it would be too complicated and time consuming. Plan B was a WeChat Pay QR code, but that was later axed as well, as “this method of collection donations was not transparent enough, and people might be skeptical about how the money is being used.”
Plan C took them to the Chunmiao Foundation, which was a solution that everyone felt confident and comfortable in. “Partnering with them meant that we were actually capable of delivering results on a much larger scale,” Matthew explained. “We were originally planning on buying headcovers for female medics’ hair, but we weren’t sure if we could get those shipped inside the lockdown province of Hubei.” An organization like Chunmiao was able to do so, though, “so now we’re supplying baby incubators and respirators, literally saving lives!”
Overall, it took Matthew and his friends 15 days from when the first note was written to when the song and video was first shared publicly. Less than 48 hours since it went live, the project has already helped raise nearly RMB60, 000 — enough for two new baby incubators! It’s a remarkable achievement on any given day, but when you take into account the fact that the whole thing was pulled off with no physical contact between any of the 12 students, and at a time when everyone is scrambling to adapt to a whole new way of learning…well, ‘remarkable’ just doesn’t seem like an apt enough description.
(Big thanks to the following students for their valuable contributions! Jasmine ‘23: Singer, Sean ‘23: Piano, Jerry ‘22: Piano, Liz ‘21: Flute, David ‘20: Violin, Elvis ‘23: Violin, Zion ‘23: Guitar, Harry ‘23: Guitar, and Kate ‘23: Animation Art)
INSPIRATIONAL. EVERY DAY AT SAS.