REXBURG – A local children’s choir is spreading some Christmas cheer in a unique way this Christmas season.
The Rexburg Children’s Choir performs an arrangement of “For Unto Us a Child is Born” using green screen technology in a new video released on YouTube this week. It features 100 singers between the ages 10 and 17, split evenly between Idaho Falls and Rexburg.
Choir Director Ben Watson tells EastIdahoNews.com the video was his solution to keeping the choir alive during COVID-19.
“I knew we wouldn’t be able to do a live concert, and even a traditional music video was going to be a challenge. It was then that I came up with the idea of doing a green screen video. After consulting with our videographer, Nick Sales, we decided that this could be a great idea. So we went with it,” Watson says.
The video was filmed earlier this month. Enrollment was capped at 100 singers because of the pandemic.
Each singer came in one at a time to record in front of a green screen while Watson conducted them. Each performance was edited to make it appear that each child was singing together on the same stage.
Watson says it took seven hours to get through the whole choir.
“I had just flown home from my brother’s funeral in Texas less than eight hours prior to the start of filming for this project,” he says.
Watson’s brother died from complications related to COVID-19, so he is keenly aware of how serious the virus can be for some people. Despite that, he wanted to do something to make sure the choir could still perform together.
“My hope is that this video will help encourage choral directors around the world. Many have been frustrated at the lack of options and ideas to keep singing alive in their schools and communities. With the power of recording technology — both visual and audio — choral music can continue pressing forward despite the challenges of our day,” says Watson.
Tim Sharp, the arranger of the song and executive director of the American Choral Directors Association, says he is pleased with the production team’s creativity in coming together to create something inspiring for viewers.
“Ben Watson’s creation of a virtual performance of ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’ from Handel’s Messiah is a testimony to the human spirit and an example of creativity and ingenuity,” Sharp says. “I could not be more proud of each and every young singer in this performance, and for the producers who have demonstrated how we can keep singing in creative and inspiring new ways.”
Others involved in the video’s production include the choir’s Associate Director Sheree Hastings and Integra Music Group. Nick Sales was the videographer and editor. Ken Dudley and Brian Carter were the tracking session producers and sound engineers.
The video has been viewed more than 1,300 times, as of Friday afternoon, and is getting rave reviews. Watch it in the video player above.