Will coronavirus song go viral?

Ron Burtz
It sounds like the ultimate irony, but a Custer singer/songwriter is hoping his music video about the coronavirus will go viral on YouTube. However, Rod Rice, who wrote and recorded the song “Stand Together” said he is not holding out a great deal of hope that will happen. 
Rice, who has lived in Custer most of the past 40 years, has been playing guitar and writing songs since he was 19 and has performed professionally since he was 28. He spent every summer the past 26 years playing and singing for the Bluebell Lodge chuck wagon hayride in Custer State Park. 
“I don’t really try to write songs,” said Rice. “They just start coming to me ... and I roll with it.”
In the case of “Stand Together,” which was written during the weeks of COVID-19 lockdown in March, Rice began mentally working on the tune first.
“The words just started rolling in one night when I was sleeping,” he said. “Sometimes that happens.”
Rice says the chorus was first to come to him. It forms the heart of the message of the song which is “We can all stand together.”
The remainder of the chorus urges people to “Stand six foot apart. We can stay at home. We can all lead a charge. We can help one another. We can touch with our hearts. We can save a friend if we all do our part. Please don’t say, ‘It can’t happen to me.’ No one is immune to this disease.”
Once he had the song written, Rice decided to record it with the help of a friend who has a recording studio in Rapid City. Out of that grew the idea of producing the music video. 
With his wife, Vachel, operating the video camera and his children and one of their friends as actors, Rice shot the video with scenes at Gordon Stockade east of Custer, at home and in the Rapid City studio. Also appearing in the video is the studio owner who dances robotically while wearing a gas mask.
After posting the video on YouTube, Rice contacted a Rapid City TV station to ask if they could help him promote it. To his surprise they asked, “What are you doing Monday?” That resulted in a trip to the studio where Rice responded to questions about the song and performed part of it live during the morning news show. 
“I wasn’t planning on that,” said Rice, adding, “I thought it would be a great experience and it was.”
While “Stand Together” has several hundred views, it hasn’t exactly gone viral just yet. But Rice said everyone who has seen the video seems to like it and if it does take off, he jokes it would be his “15 minutes of fame.” 
The video can be found by searching YouTube for “Stand Together by Rod Rice.” It can also be viewed on the Chronicle Facebook page. 

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