Utica, N.Y.—Two Westmoreland High School music teachers, found a creative way for their students to enjoy the holiday season and perform Christmas favorites, even though their holiday concerts were canceled this year. Choir Director, Emily Davis came up with the idea to do a Christmas album in mid-summer.
“We’re really used to being apart of our community,” Davis, Choir Director at Westmoreland Jr./Sr. High School explained. “We just love our community and so I got to thinking how can we still reach our community, still give our kids the experience of being together and that’s where the idea was born and the idea for the album title, “Christmas Together” came from it was just our way of uniting all of the facets the students the community the whole bit.”
The Christmas album is comprised of 10-holiday songs, produced by students in Westmoreland’s Select Choir, Broadway Voices, Saxophone Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Brass Ensemble. Westmoreland School District went fully remote at the end of November, so the students had to record the album via a handheld recorder or their smartphones.
“We supplied them either with little handheld digital recorders most of them actually just used their phones, like on a voice memo,” Davis said. “And they recorded themselves singing or playing depending on the track and we collected those all in and then my husband and Mrs. Cutler took the time to sit down and start laying all of those tracks together.”
Kristyn Cutler, The band director, was responsible for mixing the instrumental tracks and spent the last week and a half dedicating every spare moment she had to completing the album in time for the holidays.
“It was actually at the end of it that it felt very huge,” Cutler explained. “By the end of last week, I was like, ‘if I look at another screen I might cry,’ because it would be at home all night sitting with my laptop and just continue to mix and make sure everything works as much as Emily’s husband was doing with the choral tracks, it was just very tedious work but it was fun to get the right mix and the final product.”
If you’re interested in listening to the songs on “Christmas Together” you can visit www.westmorelandschool.org/ChristmasTogether.