The world has changed.
And in many ways, we have changed too. Because never before in our lifetimes, have we faced an enemy like this. An enemy that hides among us – an enemy that we cannot see and cannot touch and cannot smell – and yet it invades every aspect of our lives.
It is an enemy that affects everyone.
Millions of people around the world have been infected with the COVID-19 virus and hundreds of thousands of them have died. Even more have lost their jobs and their livelihoods, often being forced into isolation in order to protect the rest of us.
And with no vaccine as yet, our biggest and most effective weapon against this pandemic is to stay apart, because only then can we protect each other.
But being apart has its consequences, many of them tragic and heart-breaking.
There are too many people who cannot say goodbye to their parents or their grandparents or even their own family, people who are tragically dying alone, not surrounded by their loved ones, as they are meant to be.
It’s easy in this time of turmoil and uncertainty and isolation to feel scared and afraid and alone.
But we are not alone.
And that is the message that three remarkable artists, Israeli-Americans four-time Emmy nominated composer Sharon Farber and award-winning Director Gev Miron, along with iconic 11-time OSCAR nominee songwriter Diane Warren are giving to us – a message for all those affected by the virus and all those on the frontline who are fighting it.
The three of them have combined their considerable talents to do something that has not only lifted our spirits, but made them soar.
Diane’s originally written Oscar nominated song, “I’m standing with you,” was the perfect opportunity to blend both positivity and inspiration so that their message of hope and comfort would be brought to life. Thus, they put together an ensemble of talent from around the world to create a musical video that doesn’t just play on our many digital devices, but reaches out, grabs our hearts and never lets us go.
And what started out as a small idea to do something to show solidarity for the music community, became a global uniting project that raises funds for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, as well as for those suffering in this pandemic. The idea began to grow and continued to grow more and more and more until it exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations.
The interest was high and the original vision of just a few musicians in the Los Angeles area, was blown away, as more and more musicians and artists wanted to join the project. The initial musicians were suddenly joined by conductor Libi Lebel and all 73 members of the Texas Medical Center Orchestra, an entire orchestra composed of mainly those in the medical community. This was followed by the Spirit of David Gospel Choir (US) and accompanied with more than 80 Los Angeles instrumentalists and singers.
Then there were the incredible artists, hailing from all over the world from as far afield as Australia to America to the United Kingdom to Greece to Italy to South Korea to India to Turkey to Kenya to Israel and Iran.
This small dream had become so much more, successfully bringing together more than 170 extremely talented musicians from all corners of our planet, performing together using many different voices yet with one single powerful message.
I’m standing with you.
Sharon, who wrote a new arrangement for the song worked together in collaboration with Gev Miron to produce the video. It was a bit of spell-binding digital mastery, as well as a mind-boggling logistical coordination effort of epic proportions to work with artists across different time zones and distances. Each would record their music and their singing at home, then relay and send their videos and recordings to Sharon and Gev and their highly skilled teams – from cinematographers around the world who shot haunting videos of empty streets, to music engineer Michael Stern who worked on the orchestral and chorale sound files all while Sharon was simultaneously deciding on the lead singers’ placements, creating duets, trios and quartets between them. They would then use their wizardly skills of movie making and musical editing and arrangement to stitch together what can only be described as magic – a magic that is instantly transported around the world.
But that ability to reach across borders and across time and across vast distances to inspire the world is what music is all about, and as Sharon and Gev say, “Music is a universal language, and a powerful tool to uplift and inspire… we can utilize our art and help others by elevating their spirits”
Diane adds further, “I am honored to have my song being used to unite people from around the world and to be involved in such an inspiring project.”
In this story that is playing across our lives, there is an invisible villain, but there are also very visible heroes too – heroes, who do not wear capes of red and green, but gowns of blue and white. Nurses and doctors and first responders are fighting for us desperately in hospitals and aged homes and medical centres, often at great risk to themselves. It can be daunting and lonely and beyond what most of us can ever begin to imagine.
But they are not alone and never will be.
For as the lyrics of the song say:
And when you think that all the odds are all against you
And you just feel like giving up, well, I won’t let you
Through whatever you go through
I’m standing with you
Music is indeed that great unifying force, for in a world that is so often divided by politics and religion and ideology, it succeeds on a level that every politician or leader can only ever dream of. It unites us in compassion, in love and in solidarity.
And that is a goal – a worthy one, for which we should all stand together.
You can watch the video above and be part of this inspirational story