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You can lean on us.

The Oakland Symphony is pleased to share a 130-member virtual performance of the timeless classic “Lean on Me”, by Bill Withers. The performance captures the Oakland Symphony family of ensembles – the Orchestra, Chorus, and Youth Orchestra along with 30 participants of the Symphony’s MUSE education program. The performers ranged in age from 8 to 86.

“Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
Performed by Oakland Symphony, Oakland Symphony Chorus, Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Students from Oakland Symphony’s MUSE programs.
Edited by Omid Zoufonoun

Released in 1972, “Lean on Me” is a timeless song with powerful lyrics that continues to influence generations of listeners. With Withers’ passing on March 30, Oakland Symphony pays tribute to his contributions to music and his continuing impact on the world. The video also celebrates the breadth and scope of Oakland Symphony’s ongoing musical work, education activities, and community presence.

Oakland Symphony Chorus Director Dr. Lynne Morrow, Symphony cellist and MUSE mentor Elizabeth Vandervennet, Symphony oboist Andrea Plesnarski, Symphony French Horn player Alicia Telford, and Symphony flautist Amy Likar steered the video from idea generation to completion. The video was edited by Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra Conductor Omid Zoufonoun, guided by the technical limitations of producing a video with 130 musicians performing the same song but not at the same time.

“The final song arrangement was determined in the post-production so it could be inclusive and complimentary of all musicians and chorus members,” said Zoufonoun. “This performance reflects the Symphony’s culture of inclusiveness, education, and community.”