World Language Department launches music video contest: ARCHERVISION


Photo credit: Rachel Heyman

Senior Sydney Frank films seniors Margaret Morris and Letizia Oetker in ski gear at the beach for a lip-syncing video. The students in the French Senior Seminar class went to the beach March 8 to film their submission for the inaugural ARCHERVISION competition.

By Greta Irvine, Editor in Chief

While most Archer students were hard at work in the classroom March 8, the French Senior Seminar class commuted to the beach with puffer jackets and skis to film a music video for the first ever ARCHERVISION contest.

ARCHERVISION is a competition of student-produced music videos featuring world language students lip synching to a song or singing an original song in the language they study. The World Language Department created ARCHERVISION with inspiration from the Eurovision Song Contest, an internationally televised songwriting competition.

All students studying Spanish, French or Chinese were invited to submit an individual or group video with the goal that participants “have fun in [their] language, get to know great new music, show off [their] language skills and win prizes!” according to the ARCHERVISION website.

“The biggest goal is just to generate excitement about languages and get students — get everybody in the whole community and beyond just our foreign language department — excited to use their language and to bring that whimsy and that joy that we have at Archer into a foreign language space that was more public,” Spanish teacher Talia Geffen said.

Geffen sent out an email to the community announcing ARCHERVISION Feb. 3, inviting all world language students submit to the inaugural contest by March 3. The submission deadline was later extended to March 17.

“It is our very first time doing it, so we’re feeling things out … originally our idea was everybody would do it on their own time. But we realized that students here are very busy and very committed, and we recognized that we’d get more submissions, more positive results if we’re able to give students more time during class, ” Geffen said. “So that’s a big adjustment we might make for next year.”

Junior Julissa Cach, who is in Chinese 4, said managing school work and filming was challenging, but the process of creating a music video with her peers was a uniting experience.

“We were also preparing for a national Chinese exam, so we always had to balance that,” Cach said. “But, honestly, it was really fun. There was this time we went across the street to film some parts, and we used the playground there, and it was very time consuming … but it felt like it really brought our class more together because we had so many more bonding moments.”

The department received 14 submissions in total — four from middle school and 10 from upper school. In addition to official category judging by world language and performing arts teachers and school administrators, each community member had the opportunity to vote for their favorite music video in the middle school and upper school divisions for the “fan favorite” competition April 24-27.

The students in the Spanish Language & Culture: Advanced Study class filmed a music video to “Vivir mi Vida” by Marc Anthony, and senior Sophie Wallack reflected on the significance of the song throughout her years at Archer.

“Since I started taking Spanish in seventh grade, all of my teachers emphasized the importance of immersing ourselves in Spanish music,” Wallack said, “so ARCHERVISION was a lot of fun because my whole class was able to think through all of our favorite Spanish songs and create an awesome video to “Vivir mi Vida”— a song that we’ve all enjoyed listening to for many years.”

Spanish teacher Talia Geffen designed the poster for the first ARCHERVISION competition based on the Eurovision Song Contest poster. (Graphic Illustration by Talia Geffen)

The competition website outlined contest information, video requirements, award categories and judging criteria. The website also featured classic Eurovision videos for inspiration.

Geffen proposed the competition to the World Language Department last spring. Although the department decided to postpone ARCHERVISION to the following year due to limited time as the school year came to a close, her idea was met with enthusiasm.

“I know many of my colleagues here find … music to be a really amazing tool in fostering engagement with students and in teaching foreign language because it just accesses a different point of your brain,” Geffen said. “And so we use music a lot to reinforce grammar, to introduce new sounds but also to work on pronunciation and just to get students to fall in love with language because it’s often through music that we do that.”

In the coming years, Geffen said she would like to see live lip-synching performances, expand the language categories to showcase more cultures and receive more submissions.

“We’re thinking about, as we move forward, how to reach as much of the community as possible and make it accessible in that, Is there a better time of year to do it? Is there a better format or way to do it? How much class time do we need to get in? How can we get students excited to do it on their own?” Geffen said.

Cach said she is already anticipating ARCHERVISION’s return in 2024.

“I would love to do it next year, especially as a senior — it’d be really fun,” Cach said. “It’s a nice ending of our class, and, one day, I [will] look back at these videos and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, remember we did this?’ It’d be so many memories, great high school memories at Archer.”

Results of the competition are pending and will be included in the story upon release.