Batten down the hatches. If you haven’t already heard, a new Christmas music CD will be taking the Columbia Valley by storm this holiday season.
Throughout December, a locally-produced collection of Santa’s favourite songs plus a plethora of originals will be available for purchase at select locations up and down the valley.
The CD, titled Christmas in the Valley, was produced by a new non-profit group by the name of Windermere Valley Musicians Who Care, which will be donating all proceeds from the CD sales to the Columbia Valley Food Bank, as well as to bursaries and scholarships for local musicians of all ages.
“There are at least 138 musicians involved, performing on the album or involved in writing the songs,” said Windermere Valley Musicians Who Care committee member Bruce Childs, a retired J.A. Laird music teacher who was an integral part of the CD’s production.
When the committee sent out press releases at the beginning of the project, the response seemed slow.
“We were wondering how much of a response we would get,” said Mr. Childs. “Then, as a couple people started recording, the word was out, and more and more people came forward and said they’d like to be involved and it just spread.”
The length of the CD —produced over the course of several months by Invermere resident Ben Cameron at his Windermere studio, Woodshop Productions — also exceeded expectations.
‘We were surprised at the number (of songs), but they all fit,” Mr. Childs said.
For just $20, the Christmas in the Valley CD is 68 minutes long and showcases 21 different tracks, from traditional to completely original, from rock ‘n’ roll to jazz with some country thrown in for good measure. The end result is a state-of-the-art recording, said Mr. Childs.
“Just about everything is on there — a choir, a wind ensemble, and a ukulele ensemble,” he said.
Out of the 21 tracks, the committee had to pay for “mechanical licenses” — a copyright license that grants permission to re-record a song — for nine of the songs that were covers, not originals. It was a time-consuming process that came together in the nick of time.
“The most stressful part of the whole thing was getting the mechanical licenses because we had a very short window of opportunity,” Mr. Childs said. “When we got that, we had a great deal of relief that it was actually going to happen, because without the mechanical licenses, they weren’t going to press the CD.”
One thousand copies will be available for sale at the following locations: in Invermere — AG Valley Foods, All Things Beautiful, Bavin Glass, The Book Bar, Black Star Studios, Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, Station Pub and Sobeys; in Radium — Higher Ground Coffee, Horsethief Creek Pub, Mountainside Market and Radium Esso; and in Fairmont — Bigway Foods, Farside Pub and Smoking Waters Coffee Co.
Two CD release parties are planned for Pynelogs on Saturday, December 14th at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 15th at 1 p.m. with tickets sold exclusively at The Book Bar. Admission will be $10 for adults and $5 for children with proceeds also going to the Food Bank.
“What a pleasant surprise this whole thing has been, and how great it’s been for the musical community and I think the whole community,” said Mr. Childs. “Everyone is really excited about it, and it’s made a huge number of connections in the musical community.”
“There was never a dull moment,” he added.
The CD has given the committee the energy and inspiration for future projects benefiting charity, among other things. The possible next project will involve original singer-songwriters in the Upper Columbia Valley, he hinted.