Choir students featured in HEB holiday commercial


Charlotte Koellner

Senior Leanna Reyna, Junior Finnagen Alexander, Sophomore Bubba Infante, and freshmen Izzy Kalyoncuoglu and Anya Cherukuri pose for a photo. The five students were recently featured singing in HEB’s holiday commercial.

Isabella Verette, Digital Staff

HEB is drawing eyes to the Bowie choir program with their new holiday commercial.

Every year HEB comes out with a new holiday commercial as it approaches Thanksgiving. Their marketing team and department work to craft these commercials and not only make them interesting to watch, but to connect them back to the Texas population. 

This year the Bowie Choir program received an offer for some of their students to be featured in the 2022 commercial

“I kind of got an email out of the blue,” Choir Director Aaron Bourgeois said. “They didn’t get into too many details about it, but pretty much were like ‘Hey we are interested in having some of your students in a commercial.’” 

With this email Bourgeois reached out to the kids in the choir program, giving them all chances to audition to be in the commercial. 

“Originally they wanted the names of four singers, which kind of stressed me out, and I was really struggling with figuring out what students to choose,” Bourgeois said. “ I was really struggling with doing that, and eventually they mentioned that casting could be an option so they would take auditions and decide who they thought was best suited.” 

A few weeks later HEB’s marketing team decided to have videos sent in of all the singers that were interested. Their marketing team took it from there and picked the students they felt were best for the commercial. 

“I did have to Audition,” sophomore Bubba Infante said. “I took various takes before I sent in the final one.” 

Five students from the Bowie Choir Program out of approximately 70 that auditioned were picked for this opportunity and got to experience what it’s like to film for a statewide commercial. 

“I believe it was like two weeks after I was chosen that filming started, and honestly I was surprised with how fast filming started,”  Infante said

The filming process took two days, with the first being for practice and the second including hair and makeup, Considering the commercial was going to be streamed statewide. 

“While the first day was definitely more of the music side of things, the second day is when the real filming started and the kids were in their outfits and everything,” Bourgeois said 

Originally Bowie was considered as a filming location but ultimately, it was filmed at Hendrickson high school in Pflugerville ISD. 

“They were still working on getting some things together with the new facility,” Bourgeois said. “I think they also had some issues on their end with it being such a temporary commercial thing. Ultimately they just couldn’t film it on an AISD campus.” 

The five students chosen, Leyanna Reyna, Bubba Infante, Izzy Kalyoncuoglu, Anya Cherukuri, and Finnegan Alexander, had to skip the last half of school and headed up to Hendrickson for filming. 

“We had to take two days basically,” Bourgeois said. “I drove some of the kids in my car and one of the students drove themself.” 

Once they got to filming the students got to interact with the other kids chosen for the commercial. While no more than four schools were chosen, they were from different and further apart cities in Texas giving students an opportunity to collaborate with musicians they wouldn’t otherwise meet.

“It was super fun and one of the biggest positives I took from the experience,” senior Leanna Reyna said. 

While most of the participants were excited about the opportunity there were mixed emotions about participating. 

“It felt very surreal but at the same time normal because it reminded me of show rehearsal but with professionals,” Reyna said.

As a thank you for the kids and the choir programs, H-E-B gave a few generous donations along with gift baskets for the students. 

”What was brought up to us was they were actually going to give a donation to the choir programs themselves,” Bourgeois said. “For each student that participated, There was a $500 donation given to the choir program.”

After filming, Bourgeois and the student participants patiently waited to see the commercial. While Bourgeois has received many positive messages from people expressing their love for the short commercial.

“It’s been really cool to hear about all different the things it’s been spotted on,” Bourgeois said. “I’ve had a lot of people text me or message me whenever they’ve seen it on various things.” 

Other than Bourgeois Alexander, Cherukuri, Reyna, Infante, and Kalyoncuoglu started to see the commercial pop up on various news channels and were also receiving videos and texts from people who saw the commercial. 

“Someone actually told me that on Thanksgiving, it was one of the commercials during the Macy’s day parade which was really cool, considering that not only was Bowie choir being represented, the silver stars were also performing,” Infante said. “I thought it was really cool to se our school represented like that.”