You can watch the video below.
The lockdown rendition is presented in a split-screen format, with Shaw joined throughout by the 88-piece orchestra — including cameos from brass, strings, woodwinds, percussion, a full drum set and even backing vocalists — all of whom are between the ages of 12 and 18.
Shaw appears from his Nashville home, with music director Liza Grossman conducting from Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
The project — released on the 43rd anniversary of Styx’s The Grand Illusion LP — sprung from Grossman’s invitation to Shaw, attempting to unite the orchestra for the first time since the COVID-19 hit.
“Everyone, including me, sent in cellphone videos of themselves playing and singing our parts,” Shaw said in a statement. “I have been blown away during this process as it developed into what you’ll see and hear. Remember, aside from Liza and me, none of the orchestra members are older than 18 years of age.”
“We are still in awe over what these kids have put together, and it was an honor to be a part of their project,” Styx wrote in the video’s YouTube caption. “Thanks again for letting us in on the fun. Can’t think of any better way to celebrate the anniversary of Grand Illusion. You guys rock!”
In a statement, Grossman called “Fooling Yourself” one of her favorite Styx songs to conduct, highlighting its “waltz feel at the top, the changing meters and the positive messages embodied in the lyrics.”
In May, Styx drummer Todd Sucherman told Sonic Perspectives that, prior to the pandemic, the band was set to start recording a follow-up to 2017’s The Mission. “Had life gone on in normal fashion, my drum tracks would have been recorded in Nashville two weeks ago,” he said. “They aren’t recorded, and most of the guys haven’t recorded their parts either, so it’s still largely demos at this point. They need to be done, and that will happen when we are safely able to get to it.”