What the World Needs Now Is This Student-Made Video

Bryan Parys
March 23, 2020

Boston Conservatory at Berklee student Shelbie Rassler convened a virtual orchestra of 74 of her peers to create connection in a time of social distancing.

Screen shot from the video of Shelbie Rassler and her virtual orchestra
Students joined in the virtual music-making from their homes around the world.

When songwriting team Burt Bacharach and Hal David released the song "What the World Needs Now Is Love" (originally sung by Jackie DeShannon) in 1965, the United States was deeply divided over the war in Vietnam. Bacharach was initially nervous about the song's reception given the fragile cultural environment, but the song became a top ten hit and brought people together under its call for unity.

Fifty-five years later, many around the world are experiencing a time of unprecedented physical separation due to the rise and spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). As students shift into online classes for the rest of the semester, Boston Conservatory at Berklee student Shelbie Rassler kicked things off with her own version of Bacharach's anthem of connection, joined by a virtual orchestra of 74 of her peers, 60 of whom are a mix of students and alumni from the Conservatory and the College. Rassler, a senior majoring in composition and a 2019 Presser Scholar, came up with the idea on her plane journey home to Florida, and produced, arranged, and edited the video herself.

Watch Rassler and her peers perform a virtual rendition of "What the World Needs Now Is Love":

Stay up-to-date on Berklee's plan to support its community during the coronavirus crisis on berklee.edu/covid19.

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