Kiwi students' stunning cover of 'Stairway to Heaven' goes viral

A student performance of the classic Led Zeppelin song Stairway to Heaven at a high school prizegiving has gone viral. 

The performance, featuring musicians from the St Andrew’s College band in Christchurch, has become an internet sensation, accumulating over 150,000 views and 4000 likes on Facebook. 

The rendition of the 1971 rock anthem was the main event of the school’s annual prize-giving, leaving the audience of around 3500 attendees in awe. 

The band, comprising more than 100 musicians, skillfully blended the sounds of the school’s rock band, school orchestra, senior choir, and jazz band. 

At the helm of the performance were St Andrew’s College head of the music department, Duncan Ferguson, and music teacher, Mark Hodgkinson. 

Their guidance, combined with the talents of lead singer Grace Burnett (Year 13), lead guitarist Mia Fraser (Year 13), and acoustic guitarist James McIver (Year 12), played a pivotal role in bringing the cover to life. 

Ferguson said he “didn’t expect” the amount of traction the performance would get online. 

“I sat down at breakfast on Saturday morning and suddenly discovered there were 12,000 views, and I thought, oh, that’s a bit interesting,” Ferguson said. 

“Then, over the course of the weekend, it just got a bit nuts and, it’s exciting.” 

Ferguson said co-ordinating the band was “about a year-long process” but “wasn’t as hard as it seemed.” 

“The first time all the groups came together and heard it was just three days before the prize-giving where we had our final dress rehearsal,” he said. 

He admitted none of the students were that excited about the performance at the start of the year because “they were all quite young, and none of them listened to Led Zeppelin”. 

“But once they saw all the groups together, they suddenly caught the vision for it, and they then got quite excited,” Ferguson said. 

Stairway to Heaven was written in late 1971 by Led Zeppelin’s guitarist Jimmy Page and lead singer Robert Plant for their untitled fourth studio album (commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV). 

The song is widely regarded as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. 

This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission. 

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