Sheridan Musical Theatre student captures holiday spirit in original song
Any Gilmore Girls fan will recognize these three simple words: I smell snow.
For Julia Maclean, the popular quote inspired the fourth-year Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance student to capture the anticipation and excitement that often accompanies the first snowfall of the holiday season.
“In December” – an original song written and performed by Maclean with additional vocals from classmates Eden Chiam, Zac Ellis, Aiden Glenn, Tanner Hamlin, Belle Lemieux-Chan, Nathan Piasecki and Josephine Smith – around the feeling of home and comfort this time of year often brings.
“As someone who was born and raised in British Columbia, I’ve been so far away from my family for the majority of the year,” said Maclean. “But when the snow starts to fall, I know I will see them soon. And when the holiday season comes to an end, it’s OK because the year always starts again. Every ending is a new beginning, and that is so special.”
Before writing "In December”, Maclean initially thought about the activities people enjoy during the holidays, but quickly realized that the song should focus on the emotions those activities make us feel.
Wanting to capture the feeling of joy, coziness and anticipation of spending time with family and friends, Maclean reminisced about her experiences and memories during the holiday season.
“I remember as a kid when the frost would glaze over the rooftops, my nana would always tell me ‘It looks like Jack Frost came to visit us last night,’” recalled Maclean. “That is a memory that will always be ingrained into my mind. That is when I realized what I wanted the song to be about.”
With lyrics such as “Let’s watch the starry nights and hold our memories tight” and “These are the moments we forever” Maclean hopes her song helps listeners rediscover the magic of the season.
To make this happen, Music Scoring for Stage and Screen professor Charlie Finlay and Music Theatre professors Robert Gontier and Kevin Wong came together to support Maclean in bringing her song to life. “In December” featured Finlay as the recording engineer and Gontier as a faculty mentor alongside Wong, who also did sound mixing and additional instrumentation for the song.
“The Music Theatre program aims to support creation in a variety of ways,” said Gontier, adding that he and Wong lead a stream in the program dedicated to writing for musical theatre. “We encourage our students to write material that they are passionate about putting out into the world. Musicals are unique because they have the ability to move the audience with their book, music, and lyrics. Julia’s song ‘In December’ highlights how songs can be transcendent and bring communities together.”
The accompanying music video for “In December” aims to show how a song can bring people together. From the recording session to on-campus moments, the video features students from across the Sheridan community.
“The most amazing thing about this project is that I got to involve my friends and classmates. They are talented and amazing humans,” said Maclean. “I couldn’t be happier that I got to share this incredible experience with them. They made the song sound even more magical than I could have ever imagined.”
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