Parkland Students Cut Holiday CD
Proceeds Benefit Valley Youth House
The first year Scott Watson taught the music production class at Parkland High School, he wanted to give his students "a real project instead of academic exercises." Then he thought about the fact that the fall classes lead up to the holiday season. Watson decided, "Kids should be using their talents to make the world a better place."
The result: "Parkland: A Season for Giving," a CD produced by Watson's classes each year since 2006. Each music production class debates the merits of various charitable causes and selects one to receive proceeds from CD sales.
"Parkland: A Season for Giving 2010" benefits Valley Youth House in Allentown for the second year in a row. The CD costs $7 and Valley Youth House will receive from $3 to $3.50 per CD sale, taking into account production costs.
"I'm delighted," said Roger Ocshe, development director for Valley Youth House. "What makes it particularly great is that these talented kids are choosing to help our kids. Kids helping kids -- that's noteworthy."
Founded in 1973, Valley Youth House provides prevention and intervention services, counseling, life skills and behavioral health services to abused, neglected, and homeless youth and their families. Last year's CD raised $1,400 for Valley Youth House.
There are 12 songs on the 2010 CD, including some classics such as "Ave Maria," "Deck the Halls" and "Silent Night." Each song represents the effort of different groupings of students.
For example, "Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah" was arranged by Sam Davison, who played the keyboard while Noah Diamondstein provided vocals. Yet the drums, bass, horns and strings were synthesized by the students for this particular piece.
"We Three Kings Of Orient Are" features music arranged by Ricky Lombardo and played by the Parkland High School Flute Choir with Kim Watson as director. "The First Noel" was arranged by Dan Forest and features the Parkland High School Chorale with Francis Anonia as director.
In developing the CD, Watson's students not only put musical and performance skills to the test, they also took on the roles of producer, public relations, marketing, engineering and more. They were graded on their work.
What about the CD project matters most to Watson's nine students? It depends on whom you ask. "We're making good (musical) tracks that people will enjoy listening to and helping people at the same time," said Rachael Hendricks.
The experience has been invaluable, Andrew Twining said, because he hopes to do similar work when he's older. Nich Roehler said, "It's neat that we can showcase many different talents in Parkland."
Parkland High School students are fortunate to have access to the equipment to make such a sophisticated class project possible, acknowledged Zach Grim.
Also, students in a Parkland High Computer Graphics class submitted a variety of potential designs for the cover of the CD. Watson's class debated the merits of each and chose this year's cover design, submitted by Jillian McGovern.
Students in Creative Writing classes submitted holiday-themed poems to be considered for song lyrics. That resulted in "The Christmas Bell" with lyrics by Maddie Laughlin.
The CD is being sold at tables in hallways outside winter concerts of the Parkland School District's middle school and high school bands. It also is available at Del Prete's Gifts in Orefield. For more information and to order the CD, go tohttp://season4giving.edublogs.org.