This year’s Rye High School lip dub video had a tinge of bittersweet when longtime teacher Judd Rothstein announced that he was leaving the district after eleven years to become the assistant principal at Pelham Memorial High School.
This year’s Rye High School lip dub video had a tinge of bittersweet when longtime teacher Judd Rothstein announced that he was leaving the district after eleven years to become the assistant principal at Pelham Memorial High School. Mr. Rothstein started the lip dub tradition in 2012, teaming up with senior director Sawyer Turcotte. Jack Hasselmann and Hannah Billingsley accepted the torch in 2013 and 2014, respectively. This year, Rothstein chose Chris Courtney to get behind the camera.
Courtney said, “I was so excited when Mr. Rothstein approached me. We started brainstorming right away and came up with some great ideas.” In late February, Rothstein and Courtney started working on preproduction. “Chris was a natural from the beginning,” said Rothstein. “He took the responsibility extremely seriously and was committed to a great production.”
The pair concluded that Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” would be this year’s selection.
Rothstein was determined to make his final video memorable. “I wanted to go out with a bang. We decided that for the first time we would open up the video to all of the students, as well as all of the teachers in the District.” The student council, advised by Rothstein, organized the student body and over 125 students signed up.
Courtney commented, “It was so cool to see all the different student groups and sports teams come together for a common purpose. The day of the shoot, everyone was in a great mood and enjoying the experience.”
After meeting in the auditorium to talk through the blocking, the 209 students and staff took their positions throughout the halls, gym, and new RHS science wing. Amazingly, on the second take, the team got a perfect run. “It is the fewest takes ever,” said Rothstein. “It really speaks volumes about Chris’ direction that everyone knew their cues and nailed their choreography.” The scene in the building was frenetic as everyone was running out of the building in order to be in position to help out with a new finale: 170 painted posters were held up in the air and spelled out “Congrats Class of 2015; Bring the Funk” with a huge Garnet G in the middle.
In what has become another tradition, the video started off with veteran teachers Connor Dowling and John Murolo. This year they were struggling to perfect their dance moves until they were put under the wing of senior Kenta Takatsu, a terrific dancer. Rothstein said, “Connor and John have been amazing sports over the years. I love working with them because all I have to do is plant a little idea in their head and they come up with hilarious moment after moment. They are naturals and great friends.” Courtney also loved working with the duo. He said, “We were laughing nonstop in the mirror room while we were shooting.”
Rye will miss Rothstein’s passion for teaching as well as for having fun. Courtney spoke for all when he said, “Everyone will miss him, but we wish him luck in his new position.” After four lip dubs and over 50,000 YouTube views later, Rothstein may be gone, but his videos will live on.