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Published: December 22, 2023

UT Holiday Special Highlights Collaboration Between Departments

Watch the Show Now

Together Merrily: The University of Tampa Holiday Special, featuring students and faculty performing holiday classics, will make its debut on the air on WEDU/PBS on Friday, Dec. 22.

The production was completed exclusively at UT by 150 students and dozens of faculty.

UT Holiday Special Highlights Collaboration Between DepartmentsThe production was completed exclusively at UT by 150 students and dozens of faculty. Photo courtesy of Danielle Wolfe ‘23

Students and faculty from the Department of Film, Animation and New Media and Department of Communication conceptualized, produced, filmed and edited the special, which features student performers and faculty directors from the departments of music and theater and dance.

Danielle Wolfe ‘23, a musical theatre major, was a dancer in the project.

The collaboration between the dancers and their choreographer, dance program director Susannah LeMarquand '01, was what made working on the film special, Wolfe said.

“Not only did we get the chance to perform in this project, but the rehearsal process was extra fun because we all got to work with Susannah to add in elements of choreography as a group, which is something the dance program teaches,” she said.

David Gudelunas, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said hundreds of students were involved in front of and behind the camera, with students represented from virtually every department in the College of Arts and Letters. 

“What was so powerful for me was seeing students learn not only from their amazing faculty mentors but one another,” Gudelunas said.

“The musicians got to see what the film majors do and vice versa. The holiday special exemplified how collaboration, communication and creativity are so essential for all of these students' future professional lives.”

Wolfe had never danced on camera before, though she has been involved in other productions from the musical theatre and dance departments, including Cabaret, Dance Happenings and dance concerts.

Dancing on camera is different than dancing for the stage, Wolfe said.

“When performing in a stage show, you get one chance and then it is done,” she said. “But on camera, you get many takes to get all of the different angles, and it gives you more chances to get each step exactly how you want it.”

Wolfe appreciates that the dance shows are open to all majors, and suggests all students get involved in them.

The dances for Together Merrily were put together in a short time, much like the other dance program shows, where work happens quickly, Wolfe said.

“I have been so lucky in my time at UT to be in many pieces choreographed by Susannah, and she is so great at letting the dancers have creative ability throughout rehearsals,” she said. “We learn so much from the hands-on process, and this project was no different.”

Faculty and students in graphic design produced the on-air graphics, and advertising and public relations students helped with a marketing campaign for the program.

The hourlong special was completely done on campus at various venues, including Fletcher Lounge, the Charlene A. Gordon Theater and the virtual production studio in the Cass Building.

Together Merrily will be shown on WEDU on Friday at 11 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. It will run on WEDQ on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and Monday at 4:30 and 8 p.m.


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