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Rockin’ Around the Christmas TV: Westbury Students Star in H-E-B Commercial

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choir

The choir raises their hands in front of the giant lit-up wreath hanging behind the risers. 

Turn on the TV this holiday season and you just might spot some local stars – Westbury High School students Miguel Carranza, Craig Ownby, Genesis Reyes, Jayla Rivers, and Berlianis Zayas. The Westbury choir members are popping up on televisions across the Lone Star State all December long. Their golden pipes have been busy caroling about yummy southern topics like pecan pie, warm tamales, and snacking merrily in the festive Texas way.

Backstage

The Westbury singers donning their Santa hats backstage. From left: Craig Ownby, Miguel Carranza, Jayla Rivers, Berlianis Zayas, and Genesis Reyes. 

Last October, Miguel, Craig, Genesis, Jayla, and Berlianis, members of the Westbury High School Choir, were selected to appear in an H-E-B holiday commercial. They spent two days in Pflugerville, Texas filming. The spot features choir members from four Texas high schools singing Shoppin’ Around Our H-E-B, a play on Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Westbury was the only Houston-area choir selected to participate. The other schools were Reagan High School (San Antonio), James Bowie High School (Austin), and WB Ray High School (Corpus Christi). 
  
Craig gave some behind-the-scenes details. “We practiced for two days. Practiced all day Monday, practiced more on Tuesday, and then filmed it all at Hendrickson High School. I learned the song quickly, but the dancing was harder. H-E -B paid for the hotel and gave us money for meals.”

Betty York, Westbury’s choir director, stayed in Houston to work with other ensembles on campus, who were preparing to perform for the Hispanic Heritage Showcase, so Westbury magnet coordinator Donovan Harris joined the students for the two-day shoot.

Mr. Harris shared, “As I watched the students have fun, meet new people, and gain knowledge about the processes of filming a commercial, I knew this experience was the best method of exposure for them. I understood that this moment was something that would be impactful for years to come.” 

Students by van

The Westbury students getting ready for their H-E-B holiday commercial adventure. From left: Donovan Harris (magnet coordinator), Jayla Rivers, Craig Ownby, Berlianis Zayas, Genesis Reyes, Miguel Carranza, and Betty York (choir director).   

He continued, “We are thrilled and humbled to have been invited to the event. It was an honor to represent Westbury High School, Houston ISD and the Westbury Community through our performance.” 

One afternoon at the end of November, Craig came home from school and was excited about a nice gift basket sent by H E B. Each person who worked on the commercial was delivered a basket with a note announcing the commercial having gone live that day. Craig’s mom, Kelly Ownby, shared, “I loved that when our family watched the finished video for the first time, Craig got a big smile and stood a little taller.”

Combined choir

The combined choir from four different high schools practice their singing and dancing for the H-E-B holiday commercial.

One of the best parts of the commercial is at the end when a note appears on the screen thanking Westbury High School and the other participating high schools. Craig said they felt thankful too. “I’m not sure how our school got chosen but however we were picked it was a great honor!”

Keep your eyes and ears out for the uniquely Texas “Shopping Around Our H-E-B” spot. Here are the lyrics if you want to join in the fun: 

Westbury High School students Miguel Carranza, Craig Ownby, Genesis Reyes, Jayla Rivers, and Berlianis Zayas appear in a H-E-B holiday TV commercial.

Shopping Around Our H-E-B Lyrics
Shopping around our H-E-B, 
Let the Christmas spirit ring
We will take home some pecan pie  
Then we'll do some caroling 
You will get a sentimental craving when you see 
Partners sampling warm tamales
We fill up on oh so many 
Shopping around our H-E-B 
Sipping on some Café Ole
Everyone snacking merrily 
In the festive Texas way 

Schools in this article: 

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