Even a pandemic can’t keep the Barton Hills Choir down. Students may not be gathering at Barton Hills Elementary School during the coronavirus shutdown, but choir director Gavin Tabone has continued to teach through YouTube lessons. And they’ve been making new music.


This week they posted a cover of Ringo Starr’s Beatles classic "Octopus’s Garden" (with permission granted by the Beatles’ Apple Corps company and Universal Music Group). More than a dozen Barton Hills students in the fifth and sixth grades sang their parts in mobile phone videos and submitted them to Tabone, who edited everything into form with Final Cut Pro.


"Octopus’s Garden" is actually the third one they’ve done remotely in the past few weeks, following takes on Woody Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land" and the Grateful Dead’s "Ripple." "I kind of got better and better at it over the course of making those three," Tabone said. "It’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together."


RELATED: Our 2019 Artist of the Month feature on Barton Hills Choir


An illuminating addition to the new video was interspliced artwork that fit the theme of the song. Tabone says he put out a call on Facebook as he was finishing the video, "looking for drawings, artwork, anything octopus garden-ish. And I got all these great pieces from all over the world."


In the meantime, Tabone has continued to instruct students by setting up a "Barton Hills Music Lessons" YouTube page where he posts instructional videos several times a week. He says he feels fortunate that right before the pandemic school closure, he’d gone to his classroom and "grabbed all of my camera gear and my recording stuff, and all my external hard drives. So i’m able to do a lot of stuff from home."


Here’s the "Octopus’s Garden" video:


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