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‘Happy’ Fredericksburg video goes viral

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By HOPE RACINE

Happiness is contagious in Fredericksburg, and it’s spilling off the streets and onto the Internet.

Local videographer Melvin Brown of VideoMann Productions brought the community together to dance to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy.”

Brown and other local videographers recorded the dancing and compiled it into a video that has been viewed over 25,000 times since being released Saturday.

“I’ve been wanting to do a project to get the Fredericksburg community involved for a while,” said Brown, a lifelong Fredericksburg resident.

When Brown heard “Happy” and learned that Williams encourages people to use his song, Brown realized this was the perfect project to showcase the Fredericksburg community. He then approached other local videographers.

“I realized it was important to put my ego aside and reach out and share the idea,” Brown said.

With the help of videographers from Oddbox Studio, Fxbg.tv and CVTV Brown went around downtown filming locals dancing.

The video, which was filmed over two weeks and includes footage from First Friday events, showcases a variety of downtown Fredericksburg sites. Locals can be seen dancing at familiar businesses such as the Griffin Bookshop & Coffee Bar, Carl’s and PONSHOP, and glimpses of prominent area figures can be seen, such as Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw. The dogs from Dog Krazy even make an appearance.

“One of my favorite parts of the video is Gaye Adegbalola dancing,” Brown said.

Adegbalola, a local activist, teacher and musician, can be seen dancing on the same street corner downtown where she once stood 50 years ago in protest for Civil Rights.

“Seeing everyone so happy, and knowing where we used to be and where we are now, its just so amazing,” said Brown.

In addition to happy locals, much of the dancing in the video is done by students at the Gift of Dance Academy, and Dance Trance of Fredericksburg.

“Dance Trance told me that they actually had a choreographed dance and about 50 people to perform it, and that was so much fun to see,” Brown said.

During the project, Brown never imagined that it would receive so much attention.

“I thought it would be great if we got maybe 10,000 views in a few weeks or months. I never thought that would happen on the first day,” Brown said.

Throughout the video, the happiness is infectious as area residents of all ages come together to celebrate the rich downtown culture.

“I would walk down the street and pop my head in stores, and people were just so happy. All the energy and joy gives me chills just thinking of it,” Brown said. “I loved bringing everyone together, and my one hope is that the happiness isn’t forgotten and never goes away.”

Hope Racine 540/374-5403

hracine@freelancestar.com

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