Choate’s First Lip Dub: An Advancement in School Spirit

In preparation for Deerfield Day, Choate’s student council organized a school-wide lip dub to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” The final video was shown at pep rally, and shortly thereafter it was posted to Facebook. (It has since garnered several hundred likes.)

Tommy Wachtell ’19, a member of the Lip Dub Committee, said the idea was introduced by Headmaster Dr. Alex Curtis: “Dr. Curtis said he had been wanting to do this for 16 years both at his old school and at Choate. And he hasn’t been able to because there was no group to organize it. Through student council, he requested Cecilia, Student Council President, to orchestrate or create a committee that would allow the creation of the lip dub.”

Committee members included Wachtell, Fourth Form Representative; Arjun Katechia ’19, Fourth Form Representative; Shade Mazer ’19, Fourth Form Class President; and Katherine Burgstahler ’18, Fifth Form Representative.

The final video makes the process look simple, however there were actually many logistical challenges associated with organizing the lip-dup. Katechia said, “Knowing where to start was a difficulty. I wasn’t really sure how to translate a video from another high school onto our campus. Additionally, most of the logistical challenges arose out of grouping a huge mass of people and knowing where to put them.” Wachtell agreed, saying, “Where to put the clubs, in my mind, was the hardest part. We had to get clubs to talk to us first and approach us. Figuring out what clubs were going to be in the video and where to place them relative to other clubs they wanted to be next to was difficult.”  However, Katechia noted that it wasn’t difficult to find the route, since “Dr. Curtis wanted it to be by Archbold.” Wachtell added, “The basic logical challenge was having just four students, us, being the base of the lip dub committee, organizing and telling 800 plus students where to go – that can be difficult.” Katechia accredited Choate Videographer Mr. Ross Mortensen with helping pan out many of the logistical aspects of filming the video.

Katechia also noted that it was hard to ensure that students could hear the music as the camera passed by, so that they would dance and sing along on beat. He said, “We used a mobile speaker that Kat brought along with her. Getting speakers from the SAC was difficult because it was such a far place, and we had to carry them all the way from the SAC and set them up the day of. We managed to get them set up. Most people were able to hear the song, but it still was difficult for everyone to know what parts they were singing to.”

Some students complained about the lack of attendance after both the final and the practice runs.  Katechia said, “In the practice run through we didn’t get a huge turnout, but we were expecting that because it was a practice turnout.” However, in regards to the final lip-dup, Katechia noted, “The overall attendance was pretty good. I feel like if we had many more people — everybody in the whole school, perhaps — it would be really nice, but it would also have been a little congested and challenging; we would have been bombarded with questions by so many people, all at once.”

Wachtell noted that, even with the seemingly low turnout, “many people asked us ‘Where is my club?’ on the day of.” He continued, “There was no way for us to regulate people being there or not being there. It was, in fact, mandatory. I’m not sure too many people knew that. As a result, not the entire school showed up, however, enough kids showed up, and that was important. The final video looked really good. We had enough students to make up for the lack of people through spirit and energy and overall excitement.”

Both Wachtell and Katechia doubt that another lip dub will happen again in the nearby future. Wachtell said, “Orchestrating it takes a lot of effort; because of that, it is something that can only be done once in a while. My guess is, really, it is up to Dr. Curtis.”

Despite the planning challenges, the Lip Dup Committee seemed happy with how filming went, overall. Katechia said, “People who showed up were excited and into the idea.”


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