MINFORD — When students in the Minford School District woke up Wednesday, they got a special announcement in a unique way that school was canceled.
The announcement, which was announced to the students in a music video created by Minford Local Schools District Technology Coordinator, Ryan Stockham, was accompanied by the tune of “A Whole New World” from the Disney movie Aladdin and the lyrics reworked to announce the closure.
“It was a winter similar to this one where we had a number of consecutive snow days,” Stockham said, referencing how he got started making videos. “We were hit with an ice storm in the midst of this, and the song Ice, Ice Baby, kept coming to mind. Although certainly not a rapper, I couldn’t resist recording my first song, ‘Ice, Ice Minford.”
While his first parody song was not a video, Stockham said he had to do things for the phone messages, but then he later uploaded them to YouTube.
“This was hugely successful, and our families absolutely loved it,” Stockham said. “At first, I did delays and closings but eventually had to just do closings because I couldn’t keep up with it. I eventually just put the song on media and that winter was affecting much of the country, and the idea of sharing songs, videos, etc., spread very fast and quite a few schools began doing it.”
Stockham shared most of his ideas for the lyrics and videos just come to him.
“As far as lyrics go, that’s the easy part. The hardest part is finding the right song,” Stockham said. “If you listen to all of the ones I’ve done over the years consecutively, you’d quickly realize I use a lot of the same lyrics and ideas in all of them…just written to fit the song.”
Stockham shared his favorite music genre to use in his videos is country, although he has a wide range of different genres in his videos he has created.
“The most popular ones tend to be the ones that stretch me outside of my comfort zone (rap, classic rock, Adele, etc.). What people really want is something that’s funny,” Stockham said.
Stockham explained the process from start to finish of making the video. Once Stockham has a song in mind, he will usually find the full lyrics online, copy and paste those into a word processor, and then think of ways to re-write them so that they apply to a snow day song.
“I have to keep track of syllables, rhyming schemes, etc. and in some case can use some of the existing lyrics if it fits,” Stockham said. “I’ll find a karaoke version of the song online that I like and download it. At that point, I use a laptop with free software called Audacity, a USB microphone, and headphones to record myself singing with the track.”
Stockham talked about the response from people like parents and others and is encouraged by their feedback.
“The response is what keeps me doing it. I say every year that I’m going to quit doing it,” Stockham said. “It’s getting harder and harder to come up with ideas and sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it, but every year that I don’t do one for the first snow day, I will always get messages from parents asking why I didn’t do a song and when am I going to do another one…and every time I cave and get back on the horse.”
Stockham shared as for a favorite, he has more than 40 school-related videos on YouTube now, he has some he prefers more than others, but he really likes the A Whole New World video. ‘To the Class of 2020’ song is his overall favorite, which he teamed up with his friend Alan Harner who played the piano and was an original.
“I could have never imagined the impact that song would have on so many people. It quickly reached over 4 million views on Facebook and the thousands upon thousands of comments, messages, the feedback I received from that song was simply overwhelming,” Stockham said. “They just seem to bring folks the most joy and entertainment. It also makes it easier for others to share in different ways.”
Stockham was asked what he hoped students take from his school closing videos.
“I hope that in some way it inspires creativity and I also hope it brings a little fun and positive memories to their Minford school experience,” Stockham said.
Stockham shared that while he enjoys making school-related videos, he also has several other passions.
“I love to write Christian music…not just parodies…and hope that one day, I can spend a lot more time traveling down that road. My biggest passion is singing for the Lord, but I certainly appreciate having some fun with all of these school-related songs as well,” Stockham said. “I honestly don’t like the spotlight, but I do see this as a ministry, and I love bringing happiness and joy to others. At this point, I have over 7,000 YouTube subscribers, which I could have never achieved without the snow day songs and other school-related songs that have been shared by so many.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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