University choir drop-in for musical tribute in uplifting online video

#OneWatt Voices in action

Musically gifted students belonging to various Heriot-Watt choirs are proving the lockdown is no barrier when it comes to raising spirits by releasing an online music video.

Around 25 singers, most of whom are or have been music scholars, have delivered an incredible online performance of ‘I want you back’ by the Jackson 5 from their homes with some taking part as far away as Spain and Germany.

Under the careful stewardship of Steve King, the University’s Director of Music, it took the group almost a week of intense work in order to deliver a finely-pitched rendition of the classic 1970s hit. With a lockdown now in affect around the world, the choir had to use its creativity in order to pull everyone together. In the end, each member recorded their own section before sharing their videos via Dropbox with Simon King who mixed them. Their video will be uploaded across the University’s social media channels from 6pm on Friday 17 April and has been created to deliver an upbeat message during the pandemic.

Ultimately, what we want to do is to keep everyone’s spirits up and we’ve even changed the name from the Graduation Choir to #OneWatt Voices, to recognise we are bringing together the whole University community here and abroad.

Steve King, Director of Music at Heriot-Watt University

Steve King explains how the idea came about: “We all want life to get back to normal in these difficult times and it suddenly dawned on me that our choir had performed this song before.

“It’s a very positive, uplifting track and is just perfect for these times and I would urge anyone who listens to do so with headphones in order to get the best listening experience!

“Ultimately, what we want to do is to keep everyone’s spirits up and we’ve even changed the name from the Graduation Choir to #OneWatt Voices, to recognise we are bringing together the whole University community here and abroad.”

Elsewhere, Heriot-Watt University’s global community continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in spite of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Across all five of its campuses in the UK, Dubai and Malaysia, students, staff and alumni have been coming together to fight the pandemic.

More than £20,000 has been raised in just three weeks to support students who are experiencing financial hardship and are most in need such as being unable to return home, have lost their job or have family who are no longer able to support them during their studies. Donations can still be made and students can find information about how to access financial support.  

Students and staff are also working on a number of ambitious projects to benefit medical workers. A team of biomedical engineers from the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, have started producing vital face visors for medical staff. While Dr Karina Salek, has designed, created and distributed a host of colourful facemasks for frontline workers.

Meanwhile, various alumni have also been doing their bit. Among them are Martin Dickie co-founder of BrewDog and Iain Stirling, co-founder of the gin maker, the Arbikie Highland Estate Distillery whose companies have been distributing hand sanitiser.

Professor Richard A. Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at Heriot-Watt University, praised the efforts of everyone at the University, saying: “What has been made abundantly clear during this pandemic is that our spirit as a global university, as a single community, has not waivered.

“Students, staff and alumni continue to demonstrate the generosity, invention and enterprise needed to defeat this virus. I continue to be amazed at the remarkable resilience and endeavour demonstrated everyday by our talented community.”



Craig McManamon

Communications Officer



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