Video: Barton Hills Choir sings Fastball's 'The Way,' with Tony Scalzo on bass
It's been more than two decades now since Austin rock band Fastball scored a major hit with "The Way." The song is back in the spotlight this week, thanks to a new version by the Barton Hills Choir.
Featuring students and alumni of Barton Hills Elementary School, the choir is the brainchild of Gavin Tabone, who taught music at the school for more than a decade before taking this year off under the Austin Independent School District's parenting-leave program.
Tabone may return to AISD next year, but in the meantime he's continued to do projects with his former students, with the approval of the Barton Hills principal. Over the summer, the choir teamed with Go-Go's bassist Kathy Valentine, who lives in Austin, on a rendition of the 1980s Go-Go's hit "Vacation," which Valentine wrote.
Now comes "The Way," which topped Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1998. Band member Tony Scalzo wrote the song after reading an article in the Austin American-Statesman about the mysterious disappearance of an elderly couple from Salado.
» RELATED: Our 2018 interview with Fastball
Scalzo plays bass on the Barton Hills Choir version and appears in the video along with the choir members and backing-band members Don Cento on guitar, Jake Perlman on drums and Trevor Nealon on organ.
"It's always special when we do something by someone who gives us their blessing, and it’s even better when they perform with us," Tabone said Wednesday. "It’s even better when they’re really involved, as Kathy and Tony were." Both Valentine and Scalzo helped to arrange their respective songs for the choir, Tabone noted.
Doing these videos remotely, with the choir members sending in their parts online, has been a new experience. "When kids are having to do it on their own, you can give them tips and suggestions," Tabone said. "But it’s not the same as when they're in the room with you and you're able to conduct them and guide them and teach them."
Despite the technical challenges, Tabone says he's grateful just to continue having a chance to make music with the students. "I’m a musician, and this is my only outlet right now," he said, noting that he's heard similar sentiments from his collaborators. "I think the musicians are into it because it gets them playing, there’s a purpose and there’s a result."