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Parkland High Releases its Annual Holiday CD

This year's edition of Parkland's Holiday CD includes 12 greatest hits from the past five years.

’s Music Production class released its annual holiday CD, “Parkland: A Season for Giving 2011,” during a launch party Wednesday morning.

James Adams, a senior, ran the sound system, playing the tracks for each song during the launch party and explained why the music production work on the holiday CD meant so much to him.

“I’m planning to major in this in college,” Adams said. “I was really happy I had the opportunity to give this a dry run in high school, to make sure I want to do this the rest of my life.”

This is the developed by the school’s Music Production class. But this year, there’s a bonus.

In addition to 11 new songs, the class chose 12 greatest hits from the past five years. The special double set is on sale for the price of $10.

Music Production teacher Scott Watson expects his students to produce unique arrangements of traditional holiday songs or to create original songs for the CD. Students use computer software, multi-track recording techniques, live performances and synthesizer programming to develop their tracks on the CD.

In addition, students take on roles such as producer, recording engineer, public relations and more. This year, there were two producers: one for the 11 new tracks and one to help choose 12 greatest hits from the past.

The second producer narrowed down the choices of previous hits and then surveyed the class and teacher to determine which songs would be included.

Watson’s students are graded on their work.

This year’s CD includes a rendition of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” with vocals by Howard Lessel, the high school principal, and Timothy Schwarz, an English teacher. Watson said Lessel is a folk guitarist who plays regularly at high school coffee houses.

Lessel, Schwarz, and students Andrew Dorn and Michael Martin performed the song during the coffee house to launch the CD.

In addition, teacher Chris Barrett’s Computer Graphics Class works on potential designs for the cover of the CD. Barrett’s class chooses finalists and then Watson’s class decides which design will be the final pick. This year, Sierra Dorschutz contributed the winning design.

Also, a portion of the proceeds from the CD sales will go this year to the Allentown Rescue Mission. The organization seeks to prevent homelessness while rehabilitating people in a crisis.

“It’s a way of helping people through our passion (for music),” Genna Zakin said during the coffee house. Fellow student Kaela Bitting added, “We get to use what we learned to benefit other people.”

The album will be available for purchase at and in the Parkland School District. In addition, it can be purchased online at http://season4giving.edublogs.org.

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