TV camera operator and TV crew group

For the first time ever, the Telecom team recorded Christopher Newport University's annual Holiday Happening concert for broadcast on WHRO Channel 15.

CNU's Chief Communications Officer, Jim Hanchett, was pleased with all the productions Telecom did during last spring's graduation events, so he reached out to Telecom Supervisor Ray Price to produce the holiday event, which will air on television on Sunday, December 19 at 6:30 p.m. It will also be available on the CNU YouTube channel after the broadcast.

The Holiday Happening concert features performances from Christopher Newport students and faculty and was held before an audience on Sunday, December 5.

But the Friday before, Telecom recorded the performances for TV.

"It was exciting to get back into the swing of things using the truck," said Price, who served as director.

Telecom's TV production truck hasn't been used since NNPS graduations in June. Due to COVID-19, at-home learning, and building renovations, students were not properly trained to work with the truck until part-way through the Fall 2021 semester. Graduations, football, and school board meetings were handled by a Telecom alumni crew.

Watch it

Sunday, December 19 at 6:30 p.m. on WHRO Channel 15. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" will follow it.

CNU YouTube channel and WHRO website (after the broadcast)

Telecom Intern Brandon Hedgepeth, himself a Telecom grad, has been assisting Telecom Instructor Carl Daniels, Jr. in training the students to work on the crew. For the Holiday Happening production, he was Audio Board Operator and Daniels served as Technical Director. Alumni Collin Smalls and Muriel Gamble were part of the crew, too.

The production using the truck was the first one for new NNPS-TV Broadcast Engineer Mansoor Ahmed, as well as for a handful of student camera operators.

Alyssa Watts, a senior at Menchville High, has worked as a crew member for football games, but this was her first time on a production using the truck. She was excited to be on the crew, and said it went smoothly and efficiently.

"It felt like a high-energy situation, but positive and supportive," she said.

"By the end," she said, her "legs were tired, but it was enjoyable and rewarding."

Denbigh High Junior Peniel Bejirond also has worked football, and thought it was "very fun" to work on the Holiday Happening production. He admits setting up was boring, "but after that it moved fast and was fun."

He noted using skills he learned in class and training, like getting the type of shot the director or technical director is asking for, and also running the cables that are necessary when using the production truck.

Jolyne Roldan, a junior at Heritage High, said it was a mix of fun and work, since she enjoyed watching the shows, but "there was also work with setting the cameras up and taking them down."

"The experience was awesome," said Je’nyah Echols, a Heritage senior. "It was a very detailed and hands-on experience and I was able to get behind the scenes of CNU music and arts," she said. She enjoyed meeting other photographers and videographers, too.

The team recorded 14 performances at the Ferguson Center for the Arts on the CNU campus, including a guest performance by the Warwick High School Women’s Concert Choir. The show will be edited by CNU's communications department.

Price said he was proud of the student crew, especially since it was their first time working on that type of production, and it was a high-profile one (not just airing on the NNPS-TV school channel).

"Those students did one heck of a job," he said.