Teacher sings parody to live COVID-19 blues

Lifting spirits

A grieving "King George" pouts, puts his hand up and cocks his head back in mock misery, singing his heart out on YouTube. The video by Alfonso Gonzalez, Harlingen High School assistant choir director, has more than 23,000 views. (Courtesy Photo)

HARLINGEN — “You say quarantine is draining and you can’t go onnnnnnnn!”

A grieving “King George,” a.k.a Alfonso Gonzalez, pouts, puts his hand up and cocks his head back in mock misery, singing his heart out on YouTube.

Gonzalez, an assistant choir director at Harlingen High School, posted his parody of “You’ll Be Back” from the popular musical “Hamilton” last Friday. Less than a week later, it had more than 23,000 views.

“I really wanted to perform and make a video for our district, for the kids, for the teachers, for everybody,” said Gonzalez, 33. “It’s for everybody to just kind of find some sort of optimism in our current situation of online teaching.”

Virtual learning has required a significant adjustment for teachers and students alike. However, teaching something like choir, which is all about physical presence and performance, presents its own special challenges.

“We’re making the best of the situation right now,” he said. “We are really focusing on building the individual musician. We want them to be the best version of themselves, giving them assignments to work on solos and ear training skills.”

Seeing the strain on students and teachers prompted him to create the parody of “You’ll Be Back.”

“It’s King George singing about America after we’d just won our freedom in the American Revolution,” Gonzalez said. “He’s saying, ‘You’ll be back, you’ll come crawling back to Britain.’ So I did a play on words with ‘You’ll be back to school.’”

Gonzalez wrote most of the lyrics for his rendition.

“Some of them, I took the best of some of the parodies that I’d seen online before, so it’s not 100 percent original, but a good chunk of it is,” Gonzalez said. “There are a lot of renditions out there right now. There are a few renditions about COVID.”

It was a beautiful and playful opportunity to lift spirits and give people some joy and optimism.

“I know not everybody was exactly thrilled about online teaching, about switching our environment completely,” Gonzalez said. “But teachers make it happen. Teachers are adaptable. So far the students have been wonderful.”

Perhaps this is why he composed a playful lyric to lift their COVID-19 blues.

“You’ll be back, soon you will see,” he sings in his YouTube recording. “You’ll remember how school used to be. Time will tell. Cases rise, they should fall, if we want to learn in person at all. Wash your hands, wear a mask, and please stay six feet away from each other. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da!”