"It was an honor and privilege to work with so many wonderful Duke faculty, staff and students to create our first Focus Program video (above). We included several former and current FOCUS students, as well as esteemed Duke faculty in the making of the video and soundtrack. I would like to thank all of them and share a bit about them with you.
"The video would not have been possible without the hard work of our program coordinator, Abigail Probert, and Greg Hobbs, the Duke videographer, in putting together photographs and getting the students together for new video interviews. Greg put the entire video together and did a spectacular job. Vice Provost and Dean Lee Baker, one of the busiest people at Duke, is the central narrator, and that other voice you hear is me.
"The original music and soundtrack (above) were written specifically for the Focus Program. I was fortunate to be the child of a wonderful musician and composer, and I wrote the music as a special thanks to my dad. I spent several months working on the different arrangements, voice parts, and enjoyed watching and participating in the results.
"The musicians that participated were outstanding and need to be mentioned individually. Dr. Rodney Wynkoop, one of the best conductors in the United States and a Duke Music professor, conducted the choral rendering, which included a group of exceptional singers from the Choral Society of Durham, Mary Anderson, Laurie McNeil, Patrick Wallace and Shane Marcus and our incredible colleague from the Music Department, Dr. Elizabeth Linnartz. Thanks to Rick Nelson for help recording the choir.
"Two former FOCUS students, Michelle Luo (cellist) and Sasha Voinov (pianist) also participated in the project. Michelle recorded a beautiful cello solo. (Click here for the cello.) There are 3 piano sections in the video soundtrack, and Sasha played variations in the first and third sections, and I played the variations in the second section. Because of the generosity of Tom Lowry and his commander, we were very fortunate to have the remarkable wind section from the Fort Eustis U.S. Army Base provide the lively and spirited orchestral version of the anthem (click here for Army version).
"On behalf of the Duke University Focus Program, I hope you enjoy the video."