Camden-Rockport students get a taste of music biz, record own CD

Nov 17, 2010

The cover of the holiday album was created by Ellen Curtis.

CAMDEN — This fall, 185 chorus students at Camden-Rockport Middle School got a glimpse into the world of musicians and recording professionals by creating a CD of holiday music.

The CD project, funded by Youth Arts, has exposed the students to the many aspects of music technology, music production and sound engineering. The goal: to inspire them to consider a career in the music industry — a profession most had little knowledge of or exposure to before.

“The kids have been very excited to learn about the business side of making music,” said Allysa Anderson, Camden-Rockport Middle School chorus and general music teacher, in a press release. “There are so many details that go into the production of a single CD and I think they found each one of them fascinating. Of course, they were also thrilled at the prospect of having their own voices professionally recorded.”

Inspired by an idea from middle school principal Maria Libby, the holiday-themed CD project began with a September visit by the seventh- and eighth-grade chorus, “Vocal Ensemble” to Main Street Music Studios in Bangor. There the students rotated through different stations within the studio — learning vocal techniques, creating sample recordings and observing video production as well as the process of manipulating sound on a computer.

Students also had the opportunity to chat with experts in strings and brass instruments to learn how these musicians got their start in the business. They sang with an early childhood music teacher and learned about new career opportunities in music due to its increased inclusion in early childhood education.

Chorus students have been rehearsing for the recording of the holiday CD throughout November, including a session with local musician and singer John Gass, who generously donated his time to record the fifth-grade students. Main Street Music Studios also came to the school on Nov. 3 to capture potential recordings. On Saturday, Nov. 20, the sixth, seventh and eighth-grade chorus will gather at the Strom Theater for the final recording.

Although the Bangor studio will mix and master the collection and duplicate CDs for sale to the general public, the students will assemble the final product themselves.

“Obviously, the CD project has provided an invaluable learning experience, not just for the students but for me, as well,”  said Anderson. “This is a great group of kids and I feel very fortunate to have been able to share this adventure with them. The bonus will be sharing the finished work with our families and community. All proceeds from CD sales will benefit the CRMS chorus department to support our programs and future field trips and to purchase necessary equipment.”

A limited number of CDs will be available for purchase at a cost of $10. CDs will be sold at the Camden-Rockport Middle School office, at Camden’s annual Christmas-by-the-Sea celebration on Friday, Dec. 3 and at the school’s holiday concert on Tuesday, Dec. 14. To inquire about pre-event sales, contact Elena Hamilton at 236-0396.

Youth Arts is a private, non-profit, all volunteer organization which has provided arts enrichment in the schools of Camden and Rockport through arts residencies and performances for over 30 years. For more information, contact www.youthartsmaine.org.