The Shepaug Friends of Music

The Shepaug Friends of Music is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of music within elementary, middle and high school students who reside in or attend school within the Shepaug Valley region, through training and performance that goes beyond the opportunities available through existing educational curriculum.

Since it's founding in 2003, SFOM has provided funding for the purchase of musical instruments, adjudication trips, internships and scholarships. In addition, SFOM has sponsored professional performances for the community and has earned a reputation for staging its annual "Messiah" Community Sing, an event which features professional musicians and soloists and a community chorus.

At a time when funding for music programs are being reduced from school budgets and opportunities to hear superb live music is dwindling, Shepaug Friends of Music provides vital funding and programming.

Project Genesis

The idea of a Compact Disc featuring members of our communities began several years ago and gained full momentum in mid 2008. The idea was to produce a CD which covered various musical styles, including original works, and featured past and present students from the Shepaug region as well as professionals who reside in the area.

For this first compilation, Winter's Inspiration, we begin with some of the traditional Holiday offerings, move on to some religious hymns and then offer some playful holiday favorites before introducing two original songs and then round out the collection with a live recording of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah which was recorded last December during SFOM's Annual Messiah Community Sing.

We believe that we have merely scratched the surface of the pool of talent that resides in this area; and we believe that you will agree that our first offering is worthy of the praise it has been garnering.

In addition to the middle and high school choirs from Shepaug High School, Winter's Inspiration includes the individual contribution of eleven current or former Shepaug students. Eight of these students have been recognized by SFOM in the past through Recognition Awards or Financial Scholarships.

In addition, several offerings feature residents of the community whose talents lend a distinct touch of professionalism and class to round out the compilation.

A total of 23 recordings were made with the understanding that only 14 or 15 would be chosen for the final product. The recordings that were chosen span a range of musical styles and performance levels which we feel is vital to our mission.

We hope that you will enjoy this collection of Holiday songs and we thank you for the generous support that you have provided to our children and our community.

Personal Reflections

When SFOM President, Kirk Dulaney approached me with the thought of producing a Holiday CD to benefit Shepaug Friends of Music, it was the only "nudge" I needed to bring life to an idea that SFOM had toyed with in its early years.

Kirk wanted to time the release of the recording with the Holiday Season of 2008. Unfortunately it was already September and we decided to start planning for a release in 2009.

Producing a CD like this requires recording in various venues, adapting to various vocal and instrumental styles and juggling many schedules in order to accomplish our mission with as little stress as possible.

I was truly honored to be recording with the artists that are on this collection. In a single afternoon session I could be working with a polished professional at one moment and then find that the next artist had never been in a recording studio before. There is a distinct joy in watching a young performer standing in the vocal booth for the first time listening to the playback and then hearing his or her voice for the first time in the headset. For some it was panic, for others fascination. But one thing was consistent; as each artist became more comfortable in the studio, his or her confidence would rise and the quality of the work improved.

My hat is off to the professionals who gave so freely of their time and talents to work with those "first timers". The attitude in the studio was always upbeat and enjoyable and there was little or no evidence of egos or temperament.

As you listen to this collection of works, consider the courage that it took for some of these young people to come forward, place their trust in us and put their talent "on the line" for this project.

I wish to thank all of the professionals who supported this endeavor and hope that our listeners find inspiration in this musical offering.

Mark Kaufman

Please Help Us

Winter's Inspiration
Price: $15.00
Availability: November 14, 2009
All of the profits from this project will go directly to programs for the youth in our community.

CD Release Party info: All day, Saturday, November 14, 2009 at Marty's Cafe in Washington. Blane Withers, Marty's owner has graciously opened his venue to us for the day. We will have live performances at approximately 10:30AM and 2:30PM by several of the artists who appear on the CD.

Marty's Cafe
6 Greenhill Rd, Route 47
Washington Depot, CT 06793

Please stop by and support Shepaug Friends of Music!

Limited edition matted prints of the CD cover artwork will also be available for $20.00

Orders may be emailed to [email protected] or call Mark at 860-355-0025

Winter's Inspiration may, as well, be purchased at the following locations in our community:

Bridgewater Village Store
Roxbury Market
Washington Food Market
Marty's Cafe
Hickory Stick Bookstore
More locations to come...

Liner Notes

1 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
2 I Wonder As I Wander
3 Greensleeves
4 Dona Nobis Pacem
5 Ave Maria
6 The First Snow
7 Baby Itís Cold Outside
8 Silent Night
9 Santa Baby
10 Wait For Snow
11 Joy To The World
12 O Holy Night
13 In The Bleak Mid-Winter
14 Oye
15 Hallelujah Chorus