For many of us, Christmas is a holiday we only think about after Thanksgiving. In the Film & Television program at Northwest Nazarene University, students have been planning for it since July. “An Idaho Family Christmas” is a 60-minute special produced by students and airing on the KTVB family of stations beginning December 17. The production takes months of planning to successfully pull off the seven days of shooting.
“The show is different every year,” said professor and executive producer Arnie Ytreeide, “but always features Idaho musicians. This year, for the first time, we’re highlighting several children’s groups.”
Hosted by KTVB’s Dee Sarton and joined this year by former news anchor Ron Gardner, “An Idaho Family Christmas” is billed as a gift to the people of Idaho from Northwest Nazarene University, KTVB, sponsor United Heritage Life Insurance and all the musicians and performers. “Though it’s produced by NNU students, the show isn’t about NNU,” Ytreeide said. “The performers come from NNU, BSU, local theater groups, schools, churches and individual actors and musicians from throughout the state.”
According to student producer Troy Watters, the children’s groups come from local schools. “We’ve never worked with groups like this before because we thought they might be hard to work with,” Watters said. “But this year we even had a group of first graders singing ‘Jingle Bells’ and they were great!” Choirs of third and fourth graders, fifth and sixth graders and high school students are also a part of this year’s show.
“It’s not all kids, though,” Ytreeide said. “We have the Agape Gospel Choir out of Boise, a senior citizen choir, soloists and even a very special guest choir.”
“An Idaho Family Christmas” airs on KTVB’s 24/7 channel at 8 p.m. beginning Dec. 17, and on Channel 7 beginning Dec. 20. It will also air on KTVB’s other stations around the state.
“The faculty holds us to a very high professional standard when producing this show,” Watters said. “They tell us we’re not competing with other colleges—we’re competing with professional programs. That puts a huge challenge in front of us, and we enjoy rising to the occasion.” In fact, students exceeded expectations last year when the show earned a national Telly Award for excellence in television.
“This show is good for the students and good for the community,” Ytreeide said. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to celebrate together during this special time of the year.”
A complete schedule of airings can be found at. For more information please contact Ytreeide at (208) 467-8256.