Hannah Rosenberg / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Two students perform on the Arts Quad the day in-person classes were canceled. Writing 'Together' was another moment of connection through music, for Arthur Schlosser ’67.

April 27, 2020

Stuck in Quarantine, Alum Writes Song to Bring People ‘Together’

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With social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders, people are increasingly separated. One alum wanted to help remedy the state of shared isolation — through music.

“We’re in this together,” sings retired pediatrician turned country singer-songwriter Arthur Schlosser ’67 in his newest song, “Together,” written from his home in Oxnard, California, to inspire a sense of community and cooperation during the pandemic.

Currently quarantining with his wife and pets, Schlosser –– known by his stage name Dean Dobbins to his audience –– decided to use his musical skills and free time to write a song to help people get through the pandemic.

During this time of isolation, Schlosser’s days have consisted of staying at home, ordering takeout, spending time with his dogs and cat and taking drives to the beach to enjoy the view with his wife.

Schlosser began his musical career at a young age, starting with the piano and saxophone when he was eight years old. Eventually, Schlosser added the bassoon and guitar to his repertoire and played in the marching band and symphony and chamber orchestras at Cornell. He wrote his first song in 1971, after three years in medical school.

“When I was looking for some diversion, I would go play the piano,” Schlosser said of his time at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “In one of the big lecture halls there was a piano, so I would sneak off and play the piano and I’d work out the arrangement of Beatle songs.”

Now retired, but still continuing his music career, he found inspiration for the song, ‘Together’ through email updates he received from Kaiser Hospital — where he interned during his time in medical school — about its response to the coronavirus. The emails always included the slogan, “We’re in this together.”

From the hospital’s updates, Schlosser decided to incorporate this slogan into the song, accompanying it with notes in a high register and simple chorus to make it easy to sing along with.

“Everytime I’d get an email, I think the slogan was ‘We’re in this together,’ and I kept seeing commercials on TV that basically had the same message,” Schlosser said. “Once or twice I heard, ‘we’ll win this together,’ and the songwriter in me heard that and said ‘that’s the chorus right there.’”

Referring to Magic Johnson and other Lakers players in the song — a homage to his favorite basketball team — Schlosser stressed the importance of working together in the first verse of his song.

“Each of them was a star, but the greatness of that team was how they played together,” he said.

For the song’s bridge, he echoes the same sentiment, singing, ”doctors and nurses, governors, too, all say they’re counting on me and on you.”

“[The bridge acts] as a way of just encouraging everybody to get with the program and listen to the scientists and the doctors — not the politicians — and try to get through this together,” Schlosser said.