30 music students perform from home an original song about Southampton

Behold: the power of music

In light of the current situation, members of the Showstoppers society, and a group of music students at the University of Southampton virtually came together to sing ‘Home Away From Home’, written by student James Needs.

The theme of the song is student life in Southampton. The band’s efforts bring one thing to mind in particular, and that is the famous scene in Titanic when the band continue to play despite the sheer panic on the boat.

The plethora of tiny screens, with everyone in the comfort of their own homes,  show how powerful the internet really is as they perform a moving symphony together. As the musicians play, and singers sing from the top of their lungs in perfect harmony, the extraordinary talent of every member is clear.

Quickly adapting to the different tones, the students’ voices and instruments compliment each other well.

The video shows how people are taking advantage of various social media platforms to stay connected with their loved ones and friends. In this case, they all share a common interest in performing arts. Despite the current unnerving situation, it shows there are still plenty of ways to remain optimistic, especially as people have considerably more time to practice old or new skills, and are proactive with their use of time.

The Soton Tab got in touch with the creators and editors of the song, and various members of  Showstoppers. Ed Gill, a third year music student, was responsible for a vast majority of the production work and organisation. He said it all started with him and his mates setting up a “little community group when lockdown started” as a way of “staying creative and making music together”.

Something that inspired the whole project was the original song ‘Home Away From Home’, written by James Needs. With Ed having previously played with James as his backing band, alongside musician pals Charlie (the guitarist) and Ollie (the drummer), they were well on their way to creating the virtual performance.

With thousands of students inevitably reminiscing on all the fond memories they have built throughout their uni experience, the song choice was excellent. It was previously performed as a band at the ‘Share the Sound Festival’ earlier on this year, and following a collaboration theme on their Facebook group, they couldn’t think of anything more fitting, with the aim to “try and get as many people involved in the project as possible”.

A heart-warming aspect of the project was the fact that it was all kept a secret from James, the original song writer. He was completely oblivious to it all, with everyone who took part managing to keep it quiet, even his close friends. His emotional response to finding out made it all worth while, as he admitted that he “cried quite considerably watching it for the first time”. He said he “had no idea”.

Harriet, a member of Showstoppers described his reaction as “so sweet”.

His touching reaction stems from when the song was written during his first year at uni in Mayflower halls. He said that an “accumulation of feelings at the time” relating to “properly being away from home”, and he wanted to express this through music.

He turned a “low point” in the midst of “home sickness and troubles with sleeping” into a high with the realisation that it was a positive change in his life. The song’s overall message enhances the shared feeling that each university town gradually starts to feel like a “second home”.

James was very pleased with the result, he said it was “amazing” and he “couldn’t be more happy about it”.

Showstoppers secretary Ellen Goggin summed it up as “very wholesome”.

The video performances of 30 students took about a week to put together

“We had the idea last week and then I got stuff together relatively quickly after that. I wanted to make sure the track was done first and then got to work on the video,” Ed said.

Ed said, “I definitely found myself working on this more than my diss!”

He clearly knew his priority, and it appears several students are in the same boat, pushing any assignments or diss work to the bottom of the to-do-list (probably as Boris has told us to stay indoors and we’re bored out of our brains).

“We have an amazing community at university, and we are all here to support each other,” James said. Students have all been directly affected by these circumstances, but the stress and uncertainty is especially heightened among third year students that have experienced an important time in their lives abruptly changed.

With graduation postponed, cancellation of events, including Grad Ball, and various other unfavourable impacts, it is refreshing to see that students aren’t letting it get them down, whilst maintaining social distance of course. After all, it’s not all doom and gloom… they’ll be plenty of opportunities to celebrate when this all eventually ceases.

As suggested by the lyrics, why not “drown out the noise” of the news by losing yourself in this virtual harmony of hope. Perhaps that’s all you need to escape from the boredom, and inspire you to “pick up the guitar and sing the day away”.

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