Holiday Card: Webster’s ‘Most Confusing Carolers’ Deck the Halls in Song

| December 3, 2014

Holidays greetings from Webster University and “The World’s Most Confusing Carolers!”

Webster University community members, including alumni and friends, have begun receiving the annual worldwide holiday card from President Beth Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster in their email inboxes.

If it hasn’t arrived already, the greeting from the President and Provost will be in your inbox within the next few days—messages are distributed in batches due to the large worldwide audience—but you can view the desktop version here and share via social media at any time.

The card features Webster University students simultaneously singing the festive holiday song Deck the Halls in various languages (English, Dutch, French, German, Mandarin Chinese and Thai) that represent Webster University’s global reach with campuses in Austria, China, Ghana, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States.

In early October, the Creative Services office in Global Marketing & Communications held an open casting call for students who possess language skills and a passion to sing. The group gathered for a few rehearsals before the video shoot.

Read more below about each of these student carolers featured in the University’s holiday card, and find out how they plan to spend their holidays.

"The World's Most Confusing Carolers" left to right: Katinka Oudenhuijsen, Alex Wilking, Katja Ehrenmüller, Jon Strauser, Mary Timberlanke, Silong "Steven" Lin and Hannah Joseph.

“The World’s Most Confusing Carolers” and their languages, left to right: Katinka Oudenhuijsen (Dutch), Alex Wilking (English), Katja Ehrenmüller (German), Jon Strauser (English), Mary Timberlake (French), Silong “Steven” Lin (Mandarin) and Hannah Joseph (Thai).

Katja Ehrenmüller (singing in German)

Katja Ehrenmüller, an International Business graduate student from Gramastetten, Austria, has been singing since childhood, in school and as part of a music group. Ehrenmüller signed up to sing in the video because “it sounded like fun,” she said. “It was a lot of fun meeting new people, and everyone involved was so nice.”

This year, Ehrenmüller is looking forward to experiencing American holiday traditions. “I will stay in St. Louis to celebrate with my boyfriend and his family,” she said. “I am really excited to see their huge Christmas tree and all the decorated houses.”

Hannah Joseph (singing in Thai)

Hannah Joseph, a Human Resources bachelor’s/masters combined-degree student and a Student Ambassador, grew up singing in church and with her sisters in Dallas, Texas. Joseph—whose heritage is south Indian—speaks English, Spanish, Malayalam and elementary Thai. Participating in the holiday card video came naturally to Joseph, who enjoys meeting people from different cultures and learning about them.

“Webster has shaped who I am today through all my experiences—especially by giving me the opportunity to study abroad in Austria and Thailand,” she said. “I consider myself a global citizen and feel so honored that I could utilize the little bit of Thai that I learned in Thailand while I was there for a semester. Not only is this an experience to remember, but it keeps me connected to a place I hold near and dear to my heart.”

Joseph will return to Dallas to spend the holidays with her family.

Silong “Steven” Lin (singing in Mandarin Chinese)

Silong “Steven” Lin, a freshman Music major from Putian, Fujian Province, China, is an accomplished performer in music clubs and ensembles and finds performing to be a fun experience. Having only just arrived to the U.S. in August, Lin jumped at the opportunity when he saw the call for the holiday video. “I like to sing, and this was an interesting activity,” he said. “I am always interested in music.” Lin enjoyed the filming process and meeting his fellow performers.

Lin plans to return to China over the holiday break and spend time with his family.

Katinka Oudenhuijsen (singing in Dutch)

Katinka Oudenhuijsen, an undecided freshman from Breda, the Netherlands, may not have had prior singing experience, but her native-Dutch language skills won her the role in the holiday card video. “I’ve just been jamming in the car with my friend Gaby Saravia,” laughed Oudenhuijsen. “I am a terrible singer, but it is a lot of fun.” Oudenhuijsen also speaks English, French and German.

Oudenhuijsen, a former ski instructor, will spend the holidays with her family skiing in Fiss, Austria.

Jon Strauser (singing in English)

Jon Strauser, a junior majoring in Health Care Administration from Washington, Missouri, quips that his only musical experience before the holiday card performance was “singing in the shower.” Strauser, a Student Ambassador, enjoyed meeting the other carolers, saying it was great to “mix with different groups than I normally see on campus.”

Strauser will spend his holidays in Missouri, and looks forward to continuing his family’s German holiday traditions. “We have a pickle ornament [on the tree], and whoever finds it first gets to open the first present.”

Mary Timberlake (singing in French)

Mary Timberlake, a junior majoring in Music Education from Olathe, Kansas, has sung in the Webster Concert Choir for three years and is currently a member of the Webster Chamber Singers. She has been involved with numerous musical groups since childhood.

Even a seasoned performer like Timberlake found participating in the holiday card video a memorable experience. After multiple takes while also battling a cold, “I ended up losing my voice!” Timberlake said, with a laugh. “The most fun part was being in front of the camera, playing in the ‘snow’ and acting goofy.”

Over the holiday break, Timberlake plans to go home and catch up on her sleep, as well as spend it with family celebrating Kwanzaa and Christmas traditions.

Alex Wilking (singing in English)

Alex Wilking, a senior Journalism major from St. Louis, has also studied abroad at Webster London. He enjoyed meeting the other students for the filming, and revealed his only previous singing experience to be karaoke.

Wilking plans to spend the holiday with family.

Cheers to our student carolers for helping spread holiday greetings around Webster and beyond!

Friends, colleagues and students at all of our campus locations: Share the “confusion” as appropriate on social media and/or forward the email to your community partners and friends to spread holiday greetings from Webster University at all of our campus locations.

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Category: Alumni, Employee News, Student Affairs and News, Webster News

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