Kiwi principal's The Sound of Music 'Do Re Mi' COVID-19 parody amasses millions of YouTube views

A Kiwi principal from the small West Coast town of Moana has become an overnight YouTube sensation by sharing her parody of The Sound of Music classic 'Do Re Mi'.

As the principal of Lake Brunner School - a primary and intermediate with a roll of just 50 children - Shirley Șerban's mind was "filled with COVID-19 things and imminent school closures" when she created her now viral parody.

"I create songs and write lyrics for people as a creative outlet... in the week leading up to the [Alert Level 4] lockdown, I was spending my evenings finishing a small job for a company - they'd asked me to rewrite 'Do Re Mi' to suit their line of work," she told Newshub.

"I found myself singing some COVID-19-related lyrics instead and had a giggle about it. The first Saturday after the country went into lockdown, I decided to rewrite the song for a laugh and a creative outlet in the middle of all this weirdness."

As of Monday, Șerban's COVID-19-inspired rendition of 'Do Re Mi' has amassed more than 6.4 million views and 2200 comments on YouTube. The 42-year-old has since been contacted by the BBC for an upcoming documentary on lockdowns amid a global pandemic and CNN has featured her video. 

"I was looking at old footage as I wrote to ensure I got all the parts... [I decided to use] the footage as a backdrop to the song. I recorded all the voice parts separately over a music track. My poor husband ended up spending much of the day outside," she explained.

Șerban said she is "completely floored" by the response. Although most of the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, the 42-year-old says she didn't realise how seriously some would take her project.

"I laugh at some of the feedback I've received - suggesting that drinking wine won't really beat COVID-19, or the people in the video are not practising social distancing. Some have written long discourses about how it reflects society... I didn't realise how seriously it would be taken by some. I did it just as a laugh, with no other agenda at all," she said.

"What has delighted me though is the positive comments [and] private messages thanking me for injecting some joy in these days. I'm very grateful that I can play a small part."

Șerban has already shared a second installment based on the film's iconic song 'My Favorite Things'. The follow-up has received equally positive responses, garnering more than 24,000 views within 24 hours.

Her next project hopes to compile videos and images of essential workers on the frontline during the global pandemic.

"I'm working on a few other ideas already. I have time, this is something I know how to do, it's fun and it's helping others - can't beat that."

Șerban hopes New Zealanders will stand together, show kindness and look for opportunities to "enrich the lives of others" during the current lockdown.

"Technology allows us to strengthen connections and us Kiwis are known for our ingenuity - let's look back at this time with pride at how we stood together for the good of all," she told Newshub.

"I really like this whakataukī: 'Ki te kotahi te kakaho ka whati, Ki te kapuia e kore e whati' - alone we can be broken. Standing together, we are invincible."