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Music teachers from across the country and their students unite for Christmas carol medley

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Posted: Thursday, December 23, 2021. 11:06 am CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Rounding out the second year since the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, many things have still not returned to a state of “normalcy.” With some restrictions still in place with regard to gathering, music students across the country are missing out on a time of year when they were most active due to various seasonal events.

But music teachers across the country have decided that this year, they will not surrender Christmas without a fight, and rallied all their students for a Christmas medley music video, aimed at bringing some joy to the world.

Catharine DeRenzis, a music teacher for over 30 years, said she came up with the idea earlier this year, after considering that there would be no Christmas concerts, school recitals, and other functions that music students could look forward to at this time of year.

With support from the National Institute for culture and history (NICH) and the Cahal Pech Village Resort, DeRenzis brought together music teachers Stephanie Coye, Cindy Burgos, Bernice Adolphus, Yoelvis Luna, Julieta Burrowes, Patti George, Frankie Gallegos, Jason Guerrero, Chris Bradshaw, Joanna Huang, AJ Gongora, Chelsea Thompson, Nevi Chan, Julie Penner, Kathleen Staine, Asako Solis, Yumi Guild, Cindy Crawford, Bryce Young, John Raeburn, Elstan Lord, Karel Coe, and Anselma Jones for the project.

DeRenzis collaborated with a contact in the United States, professional musician David Kempers, who composed the medley of three Christmas carols being played on 28 different instruments. The carols chosen for the piece were Angels We Have Heard On High, O Come All Ye Faithful, and What A Glory, the third of which was written by former Governor-General of Belize, Sir Colville Young.

After each student recorded their part, either at their homes or at the studios of their music teachers, the files were handed over to Shawn Tewes of Belize City, for around 50 hours worth of video editing.

“I just feel like it’s a ‘Ha ha’ to this pandemic, to 2021, saying ‘You couldn’t bring us down,'” DeRenzis said. “This video contains so much joy and so much Christmas spirit, and so much unity, and I just feel like it’s a perfect closure to a year that was tragic for music but we still overcame and we still produced something beautiful, all of us together.”

The video can be viewed here.

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