News Article

A cappella group uses music to get through quarantine together

A capella group singing “Boy With Luv” by BTS (feat. Halsey) in Zoom

May 15, 2020

To stay connected and positive during quarantine, members of Syncopasian, MIT’s premier East Asian a cappella group, produced a Zoom-themed music video to the song “Boy With Luv” by BTS (feat. Halsey).

Although the members are far apart from each other geographically, they were driven to continue making music together despite the distance. They initially tried to host live rehearsals on Zoom, but the video and sound quality weren’t good. It was also a challenge to manage live rehearsals with members who live in time zones spanning the USA and as far away as Taiwan.

To solve this problem, each member recorded themselves singing to a background track to keep time and to ensure audio and video would align in post-production. “We had rehearsed the song together in this past fall semester’s repertoire, so because it was something relatively fresh in our minds, we thought we could make a quality production of it, even while we're all separated at home,” says sophomore Justin Park, Syncopasian’s music director and co-production chair.

While Park was responsible for mixing and balancing each audio track together, sophomore Daniel Liu, Syncopasian’s concert and co-production chair, was managing the storyboard and development of the Zoom-themed music video. As a group, they discussed and collaborated on what each single frame of the video would look like. “We consider all these factors, including how to combine 16 videos so that every member gets an equal amount of screen time,” says Liu.

Once the audio and video pieces were synced up, members of the group experimented with Zoom features to add more fun. Specifically, they used the Zoom clap emoji to resemble their clap snare scenario and the raised hand emoji to transition into enlarged videos of the soloists.

Videos like this can’t replace singing together in person as a group, but the Syncopasian members’ shared love of music has helped them feel connected to one another. “We just really wanted to try to overcome these limitations and still make a good experience together,” says Madeline “Maddy” Zhang, a graduating Syncopasian senior.

MIT is home to over 500 recognized on-campus student groups and organizations. With the pandemic scattering students around the world, many groups had to cancel their spring events and end-of-year celebrations. Developing the music video served as a small way to celebrate the group’s achievements and inspire other groups to find ways to bridge distances. “There are always ways to stay connected and I hope this encourages people to continue exploring and continue to find ways to keep that going throughout all this,” says Park.

Written by Stephanie Tran, Video courtesy of MIT Syncopasian

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