When Atlanta music teacher Nick Brooks took his school choir to a rehearsal for a holiday tree lighting performance last year, he never thought the experience would land them in the middle of a major motion picture.
Yet a year later, Brooks and seven of his students were catching a limo to the premiere of Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, in which they were all listed in the credits.
It turns out that one of the student’s parents worked for the Georgia State Department of Film and knew about the upcoming Tyler Perry shoot. The parent recorded a video of the students on her cell phone and sent it to Joel C. High, the film’s music supervisor – who then contacted Brooks.
“It’s kind of neat being in Atlanta; you always have these opportunities,” says Brooks, a graduate of Full Sail’s Education Media Design & Technology degree program and a 10-year music education veteran.
Brooks’ students were asked to sing for the film, as well as to appear in classroom scenes and as part of a choir in a Christmas performance. Prior to the filming, Brooks rehearsed with his students after school and accompanied them at Real 2 Reel Recording Studio in Jonesboro, Georgia. “They were recording the kids on the winter holiday songs that they used in the films,” says Brooks. “They wanted me with them in case they were nervous, and I also directed them through the songs when they sang.”
Brooks visited the students on set during their three days of filming for the classroom scene and the final Christmas pageant. “At first they were nervous,” says Brooks. “Tyler Perry was very funny with the kids and making jokes he just had them laughing a lot. That made them comfortable. They forgot where they were.”