This summer I was commissioned with Shana Tucker to co-arrange two pop songs for high school chorus and band.  The end result after two weeks of rehearsal at a summer camp would be a fully produced recording session and music video.  The first video, a cover of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” dropped this week, and is quickly picking up views from around the world.  Check it out, please share it with your friends, and then read the backstory after the jump!


Our second song from CCP, a rendition of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” is now available for streaming on YouTube:

Here is the official blurb from CCP founder and director Lauren Hodge:

Based in Chapel Hill, NC – Community Chorus Project gathered 32 local high
school kids and formed a chorus in the summer of 2011. With the Department
of Music at the University of North Carolina, our chorus worked with teaching
artists for 2-weeks to learn more about singing. At the end of the workshop they
went into Manifold Studio and recorded their versions of REM’s “Everybody
Hurts” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” with local band The Beast and Mallarme
Chamber Players – arrangements by Eric Hirsh and Shana Tucker, filmed
by Scott Rucci. These kids found the power of music, their own voices, took
risks and created deep friendships. It was a fantastic experience for everyone
involved. Community Chorus Project is dedicated to creating more musical
and educational opportunities like these for all kids – regardless of income.
Thanks to REM for letting us cover your fantastic song! Help support our work –

There are a lot of familiar faces in that video, it was a great chance to work with the local ‘family’: The Beast as backing band, Shana teaching and conducting, Ian Schreier (engineer for Beast albums) mixing, Mallarme Chamber players strings.  Behind the scenes a great crew of teachers, workshop artists, and Lauren H pulling it all together.  Best of all, Shana and I got an opportunity to interact with a bumper crop of young artists.  Positive spirits, fast learners, attentive in rehearsal, suggesting new ideas, putting up with the realities of last-minute chart-engraving.  In transforming a solo vocal performance into a choral one,  Shana and I chose to raise both the key and the tempo, using folksy and gospel textures to further emphasize the comforting feeling of the song rather than the situation the narrator must have been in to need such stark words of support.  R.E.M.’s manager gave the project his blessing and went so far as to feature the video as a news story on the band’s official site, which was a great catalyst for R.E.M. fans around the world to rediscover one of their favorite songs.

Hopefully more to come from this collaboration.  Music education truly comes alive in situations like this.