Local high school students collaborate with Grammy nominee on holiday music video

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Here’s a little bit of holiday cheer for you.

Local high school students at The New School in Fayetteville recently posted a music video performance online featuring a Grammy-nominated educator.

The students, who make up Ensemble III in instructor Austin Farnam’s music class, performed Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas in the video, with vocals by associate professor of music at the UA, Dr. Jeffrey Murdock.

Murdock, who is currently nominated for the 2021 Music Educator Grammy Award, is also a conductor of the UA’s Inspirational Choral, the Men’s Chorus, and teaches other chorses within the choral curriculum. He is also a 2016 Connor Endowed Faculty Fellow in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, and 2019 NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.

“The students and I feel incredibly fortunate to have an outlet to present music during a time with limited live performance opportunities,” Farnam said. “We’ve spent a great deal of time and energy over the last two weeks putting together this song and I could not be more proud of the outcome. I would like to send a very special thank you to Dr. Murdock for being a featured artist with The New School music program.”

Musicians featured in the video include Lisette B. on Baritone Saxophone, Payton C. on Tenor Saxophone, Henry D. on Keyboard, Farnam on Drums and Guitar, Ella K. on Bass, David W. on Trumpet, with Murdock on vocals.

The video also includes a cameo by old Santa himself ripping a wicked sax solo.

Watch the full video below.

‘This Christmas’ performed by New School Ensemble III and Dr. Jeffrey Murdock