Lior’s Real Love goes virtual

A pandemic hasn’t stopped talented students performing with an acclaimed singer-songwriter for the launch of Education Week.

A virtual performance of Lior's 'Real Love' with students from NSW public schools.


I broke it down to the last detail
I drew a list why we should fail
But if it’s one thing I’ve learnt in all my time
If it’s real love 
You don’t need to ask why

Back when I was greener
I thought love was black and white
I somehow had it in my head
That if it’s right
It won’t need a fight
I didn’t know that I should never break you down
That you can’t split someone into what’s right or wrong

But if it’s one thing I’ve learnt in all my time
If it’s real love
Don’t let it die
If it’s real love
You don’t need to ask why
And if it’s one thing that I could never deny
Real love

And you were always there for me
But I couldn’t see what you could see
I change my colours easily
You’re strong and steady
It’s how you’ll always be
Now I know that I will always be in flight
Forever drawn into your light 

And if it’s one thing I’ve learnt in all my time
If it’s real love
Don’t let it die
If it’s real love
You don’t need to ask why
Yeah if it’s one thing I know I could never deny
Real love

End of transcript.

Australian singer-songwriter Lior has joined 110 students from the NSW Public Schools performing ensembles for an online recording of his song ‘Real Love’, released today for the virtual launch of Education Week.

“When I wrote the song, I never imagined I would be watching hundreds of students performing their part individually to create a complete patchwork on the screen,” Lior said.

“It does feel good to have been part of what I think has turned out to be a beautiful construct and to learn that it was a meaningful experience for those involved.”

The ARIA winner was due to be the guest performer at this year’s ‘In Concert’ program at Sydney Town Hall but the May event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The event usually features more than 1,500 secondary students from across NSW including participants from the NSW Public Schools Singers, NSW Public Schools Symphony Orchestra and the NSW Public Schools Jazz Orchestra.

Students had already commenced rehearsals on the piece, arranged for choir and orchestra specifically for the concert, before the pandemic restrictions were announced.

To avoid the hard work going to waste, the organisers borrowed an idea from American conductor Eric Whitacre and took the ensembles virtual.

The students from 50 NSW public schools continued to rehearse the piece online through Zoom sessions with conductors Elizabeth Scott and Stephen Williams.

It was an adjustment for both students and teachers who had never experienced online rehearsal.

“Conducting becomes quite strange because the audio and video often didn’t match up in the online environment,” Ms Scott said.

To overcome the technical issue, students joined online rehearsals from home for instruction and advice, and then independently practised and recorded their renditions on two separate tracks – an audio and a video track – which were stitched together for the final video, a mammoth task for editor Peter McVie.

“There were hundreds of videos to line up and edit together. Dealing with unintentional background noise was also a factor,” Ms Scott said.

Lior recorded his version of Real Love at his home in Melbourne and said he was “thrilled to see the results” of the virtual video of the song he released in 2018.

Ms Scott said the students found it an interesting but challenging experience.

“People usually sing in a choir because they don’t want to be singing by themselves,” she said.

“So it can be quite scary for some of the students to hear their voice in isolation.”

Lior said virtual performances would never replace the magic of live acts and he was hopeful that “the old normal” would return soon.

“As an artist who values the connection that live performance brings, this is about as good as it gets in a virtual world.”

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