Unaka High School Band Director Jeremy Swain is hoping a seasonal rendition of “Jingle Bells” can win the school a $15,000 music grant being offered as the prize in a contest sponsored by Rack Room Shoes.
“The Gift of Music” Video Contest will award the grant to the top four vote-getters among schools participating in the contest. Winners will be chosen based on online votes that can be cast at the website for Rack Room Shoes. There’s also a link to the contest on the Facebook page for Rack Room Shoes.
Swain said that contest participants were directed to record a video of one of five holiday songs. Swain and the UHS Band chose to record “Jingle Bells,” but other options included “Deck the Halls,” “Up on the Housetop,” “O’ Christmas Tree” and “Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Swain added that the band traditionally performs a different version of “Jingle Bells” for the annual Elizabethton Christmas Parade.
Voting has commenced in the contest and will continue through 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 11.
Swain is asking residents to show their support by casting a vote in the online contest for the UHS video.
Each person may vote once per day. To vote, go to www.rackroomshoes.com, scroll down to “Gift of Music” Video Contest, and vote for the video titled “Jingle Bells — Jeremy Swain.”
The band director is also imploring members of the public to use their social media contacts to show some support for the Rangers.
“After you vote, if you wouldn’t mind, share the information with phone, email and Facebook contacts, as well as church congregations and civic organizations,” Swain said. “We thank you in advance for your help.”
In the video submitted by Swain to the contest, he is shown singing “Jingle Bells,” accompanied by Joel Buckner on piano.
“Joel’s a friend of mine, and I asked him to play on the video,” Swain said. “He’s a professional musician who performs widely in the area.”
Swain noted that, should the school win the $15,000 grant, the money could go a long way toward purchasing new band uniforms or possibly some musical instruments.
The Carter County School System has placed a link – carter.k12.tn.us – on its website that will take potential voters directly to the school’s “Jingle Bells” video. After clicking the link, people can cast their votes without having to scroll through the hundreds of entries submitted for the competition.
“The link’s front and center on the school system’s website,” Swain said.