Two students approach Historic Rock Ford on a winter’s night.
“Back then, this was the place to be on the 12th night of Christmas,” one says to the other. “This was the one night a year you could party.”
“Party? In 1799? I wonder what that was like,” her friend replies.
Thus sets the stage for a recently released music video from Millersville University students that was recorded at Historic Rock Ford.
The school’s Clair Brothers Music Business Technology program produces a holiday music video annually, and there’s always a wildcard element. In 2020, a video version of “O Come, Emmanuel” featured giant snakes. In 2021, students put their own spin on Sammy Hagar’s “Give to Live” and worked with Grammy-nominated producer and engineer David Ivory.
And in 2022, they donned period garb and partied like it was 1799 at Historic Rock Ford.
Barry Atticks, associate professor of the Music Business Technology program, says he and students from a music production course worked with Rock Ford last holiday season on recordings for the historic site’s “Voices of Yuletide Past” event.
“During the production last year, I learned about the holiday of Yuletide, specifically the 12th night of that celebration (aka the 12th day of Christmas) … Because I thought the 12th night tradition of ‘party of the year’ was an interesting event, I thought it would be cool to recreate with the students what an actual 12th night party was like in 1799,” Atticks wrote in an email.
But if they were going to throw a party, he said, it had to be true to the time.
“We tried to be as historically accurate as possible with hairstyles, jewelry, costumes, games, food, and other traditions,” Atticks wrote. “The staff at Rock Ford were extremely instrumental in helping us get the details correct.”
Speaking of instrumental – the music featured in the video is a twist on The Sweet’s high-energy 1973 track, “The Ballroom Blitz,” recorded by student band Lilla Jul Rockeband.
“They were able to work with outside professionals on the recording which was a big thrill for them,” Atticks said.
The filming took place from Nov. 12-13, with a cast and crew of 40 people.
The video concludes with a special message from Millersville University president Daniel Wubah.
“The students were so thrilled that the president took the time to film a message to be included at the end,” Atticks wrote. “It created a great sense of community, and the students felt so supported by him in this creative endeavor.”
Watch the video below, and find more information on Millersville University’s Clair Brothers Music Business Technology program here.