Sequoia Symphony cuts Christmas track with 98 Degrees boy band

Boy band members Justin Jeffre, Erik Estrada, Jeff Timmons and Jamie Jones with the Sequoia Symphony during recording on the Visalia Fox stage.

The Sequoia Symphony now has a Christmas video and music track out with members of top 90s boy bands. The song, “O Holy Night,” orchestrated by Symphony Music Director Bruce Kiesling and his childhood friend, Jeff Timmons of the 98 Degrees boy band, is being released Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Besides Timmons, it features Justin Jeffre of 98 Degrees, Erik Estrada from O-Town and Jamie Jones of All-4-One.

During Covid when the symphony couldn’t do concerts, it created a series of short videos that brought in a wide audience. Timmons happened to see one of them.

“I was blown away by the video,” he said, “and then I realized I knew the orchestra director.”

Kiesling and Timmons grew up in the same small Ohio town where the big musical production every year was “A Christmas Carol.” Kiesling sang in it for a couple of years until his voice changed. Then Timmons took over the part.

“I had followed Jeff’s career, of course, and when he saw the video, he contacted me,” said Kiesling.

98 Degrees had talked about doing an album with a symphony orchestra, and iHeartRadio, one of the big streaming platforms, told Timmons it would support a single holiday classic, suggesting “O Holy Night.”

The symphony went into the studio to record the arrangement orchestrated by Kiesling. The four singers each recorded their parts separately in their own hometowns.

Then all that was left was to bring everybody together to shoot the video (although Kiesling was still tweaking the recording up to release date).

That happened Nov. 2 at the Visalia Fox Theatre.

Niccolo Go’s local Go Creative Group had shot the previous symphony videos. For this production, he also brought in even bigger filmmakers from Hollywood with high-end equipment and other creative minds.

After putting the set together and staging all the lights and cameras in the morning, they spent the day shooting individual closeups, the symphony members playing and the singers lip syncing to the recording.

But that wasn’t the end.

Next the producer asked all the musicians to perform the song double time.

Go explained, “Capturing in double speed allows us to play it in slow motion, but sync to the normal speed of the music. The end result is a smoothing effect on movements.”

The video and single cut are available on the Sequoia Symphony web page and on streaming services.

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