Melinda “Lindy” Hockaday ’17, most definitely did not start her Shenandoah University career intending to appear in the university’s Christmas video for each of her four years here.
“It just kind of happened,” said Hockaday, a senior musical theatre major from Houston, Texas. For the first video, filmed in 2013, she was asked to help out as she worked in the conservatory’s costume shop. She remembers being called over with a, “You – on the floor, right there,” and eventually, she was part of a scene where she pretended to work on President Tracy Fitzsimmons’ holiday dress.
Spot her in the 2013 Christmas video:
When 2014 rolled around, she made another Christmas video appearance. “I wasn’t as featured, but I’m still in it,” she said. She’s one of the girls in a dance class. She also remembers thinking to herself then, in passing, “Oh, I guess I’m in another one.”
See if you can figure out where she is in the 2014 Christmas video:
By 2015, she helped out again, by request. People were needed for a scene in Halpin-Harrison Hall, home of the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business. She’s a member of a group that hands university mascot “Buzzy” the hornet a box of donations. She also speaks as part of the group, which offers Buzzy thanks.
Check out her turn in Shenandoah’s 2015 Christmas video:
She was asked to appear in the 2016 video for a different reason: people had figured out she had been in the videos for the prior three years and the Office of Marketing and Communications, which produces the video, wanted to make it an even four. But, a masterclass almost scuttled the whole thing, because the 2016 video required a pretty time-sensitive shoot.
“I had a GREAT class and learned a great deal, but you could say I was RUNNING down the hallway at 5:30 p.m.,” to get to the shoot, Hockaday said. After that close shave, she arrived and hit her mark. “They were so incredibly sweet when I showed up. They put me in the video filming something with a candle, and it felt great to finish off my four years of Christmas videos!”
See how she fits in, so very well, as part of the 2016 Christmas video:
While the videos have been fun for Hockaday, she said they’re also a treat for her family. “My mom takes pride in them.” Whenever Hockaday participates in a video, she said her mother always points her out, with a “That’s my daughter!”
Now Hockaday, having finished “her reign as the Shenandoah Christmas video queen,” is ready to build her own career in musical theatre – one she’s been preparing for since she was in her mid-teens, having been homeschooled for her last three years of high school so she could ready herself for her chosen profession. A self-described hard worker, she’s excited for what the future holds – January is audition season for her. She’s already been offered some opportunities in Germany, and knows she could also end up in places like New York City or Philadelphia.
And, as the years pass, she’ll be able to click on a video and relive her time at Shenandoah, with some Christmas spirit thrown in. “[Being in the videos] was always a joy, and it’ll be something I can look back on fondly. Christmas is my favorite time of year, so it all kind of ties in!”