Quinhagak Fifth Graders Put on Holiday Show

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

With their rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” Quinhagak’s Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat School has joined the ranks of potential YouTube sensations.

What started out last Monday as an idea for a Christmas program for the students to perform in front of the village turned into a video, posted Monday, Dec. 20, that already touts over 450 views despite only being online for a day.

“By Wednesday, we knew we did not have enough time to prepare,” James Barthelman, a fifth grade teacher at the school, said. “So Thursday, I was kind of pacing around the room and thought, let’s just video tape it.”

“So we just sat down as a class and brainstormed a bunch of ideas.”

After the brainstorming session, where the class determined how they wanted the video to look and some of the places where they should record, they settled on a creatively edited, card flipping version of the chorus.

Though organizing that many cards and people, the group, Barthelman included, proved it was up to the challenge of creating and organizing the cards that are used throughout the video.

“I had to stand there and sing the songs, I don’t know how many times,” Barthelman said, describing how the class was able to time the flipping of the cards to the song.

For three long days, the class filmed hours of video, turning in around 100 individual clips to be edited.

Friday, they recorded about three hours of footage. Then Saturday, after more than five hours of filming, 70 different videos were turned in. The last day of filming on Sunday took them to the church, giving more of the community a chance to get involved.

Once all of the footage was turned in on Sunday, it was up to Barthelman to edit it together.

“It was kind of a last-minute idea, but it came out pretty well,” Barthelman said. “We’re pretty proud of it.”

The video was shown to the village of around 550 people on Monday night. Quinhagak is a Yupik village on the Bering Sea coast in Southwest Alaska, south of Bethel.

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