It took nearly 2,000 people to pull off Puyallup High School’s 2016 Lip Dub.
Essentially all of the 1,846 students and 128 staff members at the school were in the annual lip sync video, filmed and released Sept. 15. It follows a series of “singers” through the school’s halls, grounds and swimming pool.
And nobody misbehaved.
“A miracle,” co-director Sam Ebner said.
A week later, nearly 100,000 people have watched the nine-plus-minute performance online.
Ebner, the student body president, and fellow senior co-director Noah Fenz, student body vice president, planned the performance (with the help of leadership teacher Jamie Mooring and others.)
Ebner and Fenz saw school spirit flagging last year and decided to take the lip dub, an end-of-year tradition done three times before, and move it to the start of the school year.
The pair had to script the performances, pick catchy songs with a walkable tempo and recruit “singers” to represent the many communities within the school.
“The best thing about this lip dub is that we were recognizing everybody in the school,” Ebner said. “This way, everybody gets seen and noticed.”
It took two weeks to choreograph the performances and there was a summer work day to paint some of the signs on display. But it took only 10 minutes to organize everybody for the filming.
Ebner’s little brother, junior Owen Ebner, filmed the whole thing — twice — while wearing a tank top, swim trunks, purple Crocs and a ponytail, and carrying a camera and speaker.
“When I jumped in the pool, with all this weight, I was going to drown,” he said. “I was just sinking straight down.”
Replied Willie Vetsch, one of the singers: “That would not be good for the lip dub if the cameraman drowned.”
Vetsch performed with fellow senior Luke Maghirang to Foreigner’s “Jukebox Hero.” It involved getting into leather jackets and the school’s notoriously slow elevator.
Vetsch is so terrified of getting stuck inside an elevator that he wouldn’t practice his part inside it. So during the performance, Maghirang stood in front of the buttons.
“He was scared out of his mind,” Maghirang said.
“Jukebox Hero” is the only song he listened to all week, Maghirang said. Vetsch was going around singing it at the Washington State Fair.
“I listened to it in the shower a whole bunch,” he said.
Grace Wood got the privilege of singing along to her favorite band, Walk the Moon. She wore a purple tie-dye jumpsuit and a yellow feather boa as she sang “Shut up and Dance.”
“I was so nervous,” Wood said. “I don’t really know how to dance. I was just enjoying myself.”
Principal Dave Sunich appears in every scene holding a sign saying, “Viks get pumped up.” He had to run to catch up with Owen Ebner each time.
“He got more of a workout than I did,” said Ebner, who also edited and uploaded the video.
A skeleton makes an appearance with the students, donning a medal. One of the motorsports students is seen dancing with a tire as a hula hoop. There’s an epidemic of dabbing.
And somewhere, an otherwise-innocent student has a pencil up his nose.
Kalles Junior High School student Tanner Pierce is dressed as the school mascot, Viktor the Viking, in the video and he ended up covering more than two miles between two takes.
“That’s why Viktor is a little short,” Mooring said.
Pierce was used as the mascot for a reason — this way, every student could make it into the video.
The video ends with the drumline playing the school’s most popular cheer, “Scream,” with the students with their arms around one another on the gym floor. (One of the percussionists got so into the performance that he cracked a head on one of his drums.)
“We love our school more than anything,” Fenz said. “We wanted to showcase everything.”