'Come On, Vaccine'

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Attorneys produce a fun music video to lift spirits

By Brian Cox
Legal News

In the unsettling and unsure days following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order that shuttered businesses across Michigan, attorney Perrin Rynders came up with an idea to lift the spirits of his colleagues at Varnum Law who were adjusting to working from home.

He would produce a music video for their entertainment.

A few years prior, the Grand Rapids litigator — and occasional drummer — had recruited fellow attorneys who were also musicians to perform at the firm’s annual retreat at the suggestion of then managing partner Dave Khorey. The ad hoc band of lawyers went by the name “Sound Counsel” and proved a big hit.

When Perrin pitched the idea of recording a song for their colleagues in isolation, members of the band met over Skype to brainstorm possibilities.

“When we first started talking about it, we were all still a little shell-shocked,” said Julia Perkins, a family law attorney who also sings in a band called Analog Dogs with fellow family law attorney and mediator Dan Bates. “We just wanted to give people at the firm something to smile about.”

The first idea was to do a pastiche of “My Sharona” called “My Corona,” but that already had been done dozens of times. Other suggestions tossed around were “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen and The Supremes’ “Someday We’ll Be Together.”

But then family law attorney Sam Vitale came up with the winner, suggesting a parody of the 1982 hit “Come On, Eileen” by the English band Dexys Midnight Runners.
He said he couldn’t say COVID-19 without hearing “Come on, Eileen.”

Under a new title, “Come On, Vaccine,” Vitale and Perkins rewrote the lyrics to reflect the experience of life in quarantine, with a chorus that includes:

COVID-19
Oh, my hands are so clean
At this moment, I’m in
Quarantine.
Sitting at home,
Oh I feel so alone,
eating take out
watching Tiger King.

The band members — including Charlie Gray and Fred Schubkegel and his son Ethan — performed and recorded the song individually from their home “offices,” which include kitchen tables and small bedrooms.

Commercial litigator Jeff Koelzer then arranged the music and Rynders enlisted his son Micah, a professional photographer and film editor, to bring it all together.
The video ends with a reminder to stay home and stay safe.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Rynders. “The people in this project don’t necessarily work together a lot so it was fun to have a joint project like this, a collaborative process.”
The video was a huge hit among colleagues and friends, who shared it widely. It’s now approaching 5,000 views on YouTube: (https://www.youtube.com/watchtv=1tfAdKjJQVE).

“We’re over the moon with the response,” said Perkins.

“It’s gratifying to have people say they laughed out loud and couldn’t be prouder of their colleagues,” said Rynders.

Aside from producing a music video, the attorneys say they are adjusting to the new technical demands of serving their clients from home.

“We’ve become more technologically savvy,” said Rynders, “and finding out it’s not that hard.”

“I’ve downloaded more technology in the past three weeks than I have in a regular year,” said Perkins, who is busy addressing clients’ issues surrounding parenting time and child support made more complicated by school closures, layoffs, and stay-at-home orders.

The firm has established a cross-disciplinary Coronavirus Task Force to help clients navigate myriad legal concerns and has made an expansive COVID-19 Resource Center available on its website.

“We’re reinventing how to practice law again,” Rynders said. “It’s clearly going to affect how we practice. We’ll be more appreciative when we can meet in person.”

It’s not clear if another parody video is forthcoming. Rynders doesn’t want the concept to become “stale,” but for now his fellow band mates will continue to make and record music and can treasure the video as a memento of a difficult and challenging time.

“I got the best souvenir coming out of COVID,” said Perkins.

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