The Harvard Law School Class of 2021 marked the end of their law school experience with a virtual commencement ceremony on May 27.
To commemorate the moment, graduating members of Harvard Law School’s Scales of Justice, a co-ed a cappella ensemble dedicated to “bringing harmony to Harvard Law,” prepared a special performance of “Rivers and Roads,” by the band Head and the Heart. Caroline Horrow ’21, William Meyer ’21, Sam Stratton ’21, Renee Perez ’21, Joey Tsang ’21, and Annie Forestiere ’21 performed the piece for their final Harvard Law School concert and shared the recording with the HLS community in celebration of this year’s graduation.
Founded in 1991, Scales of Justice, a group of approximately 10-15 vocalists from various musical backgrounds, sing weekly together and perform annually at a wide-range of community events.
Caroline Horrow ’21, who has served as one of the group’s music directors for the past two years, spoke with Harvard Law Today about what inspired them to choose this song and the challenges and joy of being a Scales of Justice member during this pandemic year.
Harvard Law Today: What inspired the choice of this piece?
Caroline Horrow: This song felt very appropriate for graduation and a pandemic; We’re moving on and leaving, but also, we’ve already been apart.
We haven’t seen each other in over a year, and many of us haven’t had the opportunity to see our families. It’s not at all what we expected for our law school experience. So, we kind of wanted to make sense of this very strange feeling of saying goodbye to people you already missed. And I think at the same time, it’s also a hopeful message that we will see each other again, even though it might be a while.
HLT: How did you record this piece via Zoom?
Horrow: It’s just not possible with all of the internet lag times to actually sing together on Zoom. We were all recording our parts individually, and then mixing them together at the end. And the same with video.
HLT: What is something you learned conducting Scales of Justice remotely?
Horrow: It was really challenging. I learned a lot about communication. So much of a cappella, when you’re singing together in person, is about listening to each other, if others in the group are getting louder at a certain part, or if they’re pronouncing a word a certain way, you’re going to hear that, and everybody is adjusting to balance with the rest of the group. Over Zoom, as I said, it’s just not possible to sync at the same time. So unfortunately, you lose a lot of that communication and being able to listen to each other. As music directors, it was our job to listen to everybody figure out how we needed to adjust and then coordinate that throughout the rest of the group. So, learning to do that was really, really difficult. But I think it helped us kind of come together as a team and as a community. And it was really rewarding to hear that final results.
HLT: What role has a cappella and Scales of Justice played in your HLS journey?
Horrow: It’s actually played quite a big role for me. Singing has been a really big part of my work life balance and finding a creative outlet in law school. But also, Scales has given me a really amazing community — being able to connect with people from multiple class years degrees and backgrounds. And it’s been great to go on retreats and study together, to get advice about classes and jobs, and just generally support each other through all the chaos of law school, especially during COVID. And I think, as I’ve grown through my law school journey, Scales has also been an important reminder that there’s more to us than just being law students. Law school academics can be really all consuming. And I think it’s a good lesson for lawyers not to take yourself too seriously.