Stay inside: a toast to the frontline

Tyler Beauchamp
Rushay Amarath
Andy Nguyen

Augusta, Georgia, United States

 

Click image to view video. Medical students in masks against a blue sky with video title text, "Stay Inside: A Toast to the Frontline", over their heads.
The thumbnail of “Stay Inside | A Toast to the Frontline”. The music video has reached about 30,000 views at the time of publication.

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced us to a danger we knew little of how to protect ourselves from. I had spent the last four years fighting for the chance to become a physician, and now, in March 2020, I found myself useless to help. My parents were doing everything they could, but even going to work was risky. I started traveling back and forth to help whenever my med school schedule would allow, but we, like many, felt isolated and alone.

At that time, Rushay Amarath, a fellow classmate and longtime music partner, and I were two of the heads of “Music in Medicine”, an organization designed to partner musicians within allied health to uplift the community around us, at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. We decided to rewrite Kanye’s “Runaway” to toast the nurses, teachers, doctors, and all others risking their lives in this pandemic, and started texting each other lyric ideas. Rushay produced a simple, sweet version of “Stay Inside | A Toast to the Frontline” for us to perform. We attempted to make our own music video, but it was as bad as you could imagine, and we were at a loss. Then we met Andy Nguyen, a first-year medical student and videographer who had been running a budding, successful YouTube channel where he highlighted medical students and their abilities outside of medicine. We scrolled through his videos, getting a feel for his eye, and soon we were able to produce something extraordinary.

Collage of photos of first responders for Stay Inside: A Toast to the Frontline.
A small portion of photos sent in by real-time frontline workers used for the music video. Photos were received from over forty-five hospital systems, schools, and responder units across the country.

We began filming late at night at the medical school in order to be alone and mess with lighting. Magic was happening, an insane level of chemistry occurring. A local restaurant pitched in a table and champagne glasses for a fun shot, and our own school allowed us to shoot on the school’s rooftop for the climax. We started reaching out to everyone we knew in medicine: old undergraduate friends, fellow medical students at different institutions, cold calling hospital systems, responder units, schools and more, searching for photos to compile of the very people we were toasting. Then one day, it ran away. We originally started with six photos, but we ended with hundreds from over forty-five different hospital systems, universities, responder units, schools, from all over the country! Even the CDC joined in to help. We were overwhelmed by the support we were receiving. Another week of editing and pulling out our hair in preparation, and the video was ready to drop.

A selfie showing three medical students in masks filming at night for "Stay Inside: A Toast to the Frontline".
A behind-the-scenes photo of (left to right) Rushay, Tyler, and Andy for their opening shot.

March 21st, 2021, nearly a year to the day of when the WHO declared a pandemic, we released “Stay Inside | A Toast to the Frontline”. The immediate response was like a dream. We were flooded with calls, texts, and emails from friends and family, those we knew in healthcare, and most wonderfully, from those we had never met. A random kindergarten teacher describing how hard her last year had been and how thankful she was for this. A family med clinic across the country who felt heard after a year of pain. This was what we worked for, and it was finally happening. We reached about 5,000 views within a few days, and before we knew it, several local news stations wanted to cover the story, then a statewide allied health newsletter, even ABC—nationally, on primetime.

Unfortunately, the ABC segment had to be pulled at the last minute and was not aired, but the project exceeded our wildest expectations. As students, we were of no use to the frontline, but we were able to reach out to and inspire frontline workers across the country. This project was a toast to those who put their lives on the line to make our world a safer place, to the teachers, the doctors, the nurses. A mantra I fully live by is while medicine is what keeps us alive, music is what we stay alive for. Music heals where medications cannot, and it gives peace and comfort when it feels as if everything is crumbling around us. We were incredibly blessed to reach out to the numbers that we did. We’ve received about 30,000 views on the video so far, and Andy’s channel has since risen from 2,000 to 100,000 followers. The numbers were great to see, but I will never forget the emails and calls of those I’ve never met who felt appreciated. That was the goal, and all the minuscule sacrifices our trio made were more than worth it. We only wanted the public to appreciate the hidden heroes working amongst them and to let those heroes know they were not alone.

Now, I want this story to remind allied health how important it is to cultivate your passions outside of medicine. While the video was made to help others, it was also helping us stay alive. Please, continue doing what makes you feel human. Your patients will feel that in you, and they’ll be better off for it. As will you.

 

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TYLER BEAUCHAMP (M4), RUSHAY AMARATH (M4), and ANDY NGUYEN (M3) are medical students at The Medical College of Georgia. All three have made considerable efforts in their time with the school to demonstrate their own artistic passions within the medical field: Tyler with singing and writing, Rushay with music production, and Andy with videography and content creation.

 

Spring 2022 |  Sections  |  Music Box