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Many of us look forward to the Christmas season for the nostalgia that accompanies this time of year.

Family.
Food.
Fun.
Music.

The holidays often flood us with these memories.

The words and messages of holiday hymns and songs transport us to another time; they can also change our perception of others, increase our desires to serve our fellowmen, and inspire us to become better.

Such was the case when Isaac McDougal, the director and a member of Rifftide Acapella (a BYU-based acapella group), started writing a Christmas hymns mashup/medley a few years ago. He liked the direction, but schoolwork and life overpowered the ability to finish the project and it laid dormant for multiple years.

However, in June of 2019, Sam Hepworth, another member of Rifftide, met Isaac in the BYU Library to go over Rifftide’s planned schedule for the upcoming semester. They had seen all the inspiring music that came from the #LightTheWorld initiative every year, and they wanted to contribute in spreading Christ-centered Christmas cheer. As they spoke about potential executions and what might not only inspire but resonate with their audience to lead them to do Christ-like service, Isaac remembered the Christmas hymns mashup/medley and suggested they consider it.

They looked at the song with fresh eyes, and made updates and edits that they thought made it more effective. As they discussed how they might inspire the most people possible, they thought back on all the great #LightTheWorld video executions they had been drawn to in previous years, and an idea came to them: let’s collaborate! It took a few months, but they contacted the artists (most of whom agreed to do the collaboration immediately when they heard the idea). Once they finalized the collaboration, Sam assigned parts of the song to each artist, and they brought in another Rifftide member, Bri Ellis, to help choreograph, plan, and produce the video.

The mashup starts with an acapella tribute to vintage Christmas specials, which then fades into a modern pop sound (with a piano track written by Nathan Howe and instrumental production by Nick Porter) and ends with Rifftide singing a cappella.

The video was designed so that each artist would be participating in a traditional Christmas activity (e.g., Nadia was shopping in the mall,  Madilyn was enjoying Christmas lights, Scott and Ryceejo were enjoying hot chocolate, Jordan performed carols on the street, O/B/A and Courtney decorated trees, Nick and Monica brought presents to the beatboxers’ tree in a barn, and Rifftide filmed an old time Christmas special at the beginning and shared gifts around the tree towards the end).

While enjoying these Christmas traditions, each artist sang about Christ, showcasing how He is at the center of any Christmas celebration.

Here is a list of the artists featured in order of appearance:

– Rifftide https://www.youtube.com/c/RifftideAca…
– Nadia Khristean https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFnv…
– Madilyn Paige https://www.youtube.com/user/iMadilyn
– Scott and Ryceejo https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrzT…
– Jordan Caswell https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7bt…
– O/B/A https://www.youtube.com/user/Obasworld
– Courtney Cotter King https://www.youtube.com/user/courtney…
– Nick Sales https://www.youtube.com/user/Inyourdr…
– Monica Moore Smith https://www.youtube.com/user/monicamo…
– Matt Newman https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKd1…
– Brian Shepherd https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmqu…
– Isaac Parker https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQPU…
– Samuel Hepworth https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkyG…

Here are what some of the artists had to say about the creative experience of this collaboration:

Some quotes from the guest artists:

Nadia Khristean: “Sam had talked to me about creating a music video for #LightTheWorld and mentioned he wanted to get several singers in the local artist community together to create it.  I was so grateful to be a part of it and to see so many good friends take part in it as well. It’s so neat that artists from different backgrounds, genres, and styles can come together and stand for something that is important to all of us—sharing Christ’s love.  We hope this little video will inspire others to #LightTheWorld this Christmas with His love.”

O/B/A: “Working on this video was incredible. When you’re among other musicians, there’s a sense of belonging and understanding, and when the meaning of the video is about #LightTheWorld it makes it that much sweeter and the sense of belonging becomes even stronger.

I’m all about celebrating the meaning of Christmas with others, my family, my friends, my community, the state of Utah, and the entire world. I feel this video is doing just that —through the gift of music.” 

Scott & Ryceejo: “We love getting a chance to sing with other Utah artists. We live in such a unique place where we are surrounded by talent, and I can’t think of a better way to use it than to share the message of Jesus Christ. Music videos are not about attention or glamor, they’re chances to bear testimony through song and to spread light. We love doing our part to add wholesome, family-friendly entertainment for others to enjoy.”

Monica Moore Smith: “Often times I hear people say that the Gospel is outdated and unexciting to the current generation, and with hymns dated back a while, I can empathize with that. That’s why I was thrilled about this collaboration, because with a little creativity, we were able to talk about Christ in a way that anyone can enjoy! While we might not all have the same beliefs, backgrounds, or lifestyles, I think we all share a desire for hope and charity. That’s what Christ represented. So, the belief is more universal than we think, if we just have to open ourselves up to sharing in a new way!”