It all started with a bit of minor frustration and a lot of innovation from Centennial High School junior Raymond Cruz.
Rather than wanting to sell cookie dough to help the CHS choir, he had an idea – why not sell what they do best?
“I thought, ‘why don’t we sell our voices?'” he said.
With a little help from Cruz’s family friend Chris McCollum – who owns a recording studio – CHS originally recorded a Christmas album. Only expecting to sell 500, the group has already sold 275.
Different businesses around Franklin donated the CD covers, the blank CDs, the graphic art work and paid for the song rights in order to make it possible.
“I didn’t expect it to be this professional,” Cruz said. “It’s shocking to me. I was expecting to use a Garage Band and record. It’s crazy to think we are getting to perform different places with this album, and I never thought it would happen with this idea.”
Dozens of students school wide were able to try out for the parts – either solo or backup vocals. For the fundraiser to reach all demographics, the CHS choir wanted to give everyone in the school at a shot at performing on the Christmas album.
McCollum created and recorded the album for the fundraiser. He said it was fairly easy, and presented a good opportunity to work with students who were serious about music.
“I was pleased how so many of them picked it up and how they learned,” he said. “But a lot of them came in here with an idea of singing it once, when really you have to sing and record for three hours. Some of them really gravitated toward what we were doing, and you got to work and push them. They all ended up doing a great job.”
For senior Catherine Cleveland, the recording of the Christmas album couldn’t have come at a better time. Wanting to go into music once she graduates high school, she was able to prove herself as a leader among the group for those who hadn’t previously recorded.
“It helped me grow a lot and realize what it takes to perform live,” Cleveland said. “It’s a lot of hard work, and it takes a lot of time, effort and a keen ear. We learned to cooperate with everyone because everyone has different ideas. I’ve done studio stuff before in Nashville, but it was different doing it with my peers.”
For those who want to support the choir program with a purchase of “A Centennial Christmas,” visit their Facebook page.