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Holiday Sounds: Second ‘Christmas in Bemidji’ CD features local artists

BEMIDJI -- When writing a new song, Deb McGregor closes her eyes and visualizes the scene and the emotion she wants to express through her music. "The image I had for myself was standing out on the driveway when that first snowfall comes and thos...

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BEMIDJI -- When writing a new song, Deb McGregor closes her eyes and visualizes the scene and the emotion she wants to express through her music.

“The image I had for myself was standing out on the driveway when that first snowfall comes and those flakes are coming down. It reminders me when I was a kid and I used to put my tongue out to catch snowflakes on my tongue,” she said.

The song McGregor is referring to is her piece “Wintertime in Northern Minnesota,” which will be included on the “Christmas in Bemidji Volume 2,” a CD featuring 12 tracks by 33 different local musicians now available.

The first volume of the CD project was released in December 2014 with the same concept. The success of the first CD drove the group to create a second one.

“It totally funded the student scholarship program (at the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts) up until now,” said Troy Foss, owner of Supple Studios.

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Rather than applying for another grant, the project received funding from Mark Dickinson, broker at Century 21 Dickinson Realtors.

“He actually purchased the remainder of the ones we had from the first (CD) and he pre-brought a lump sum of these,” Foss said. “That’s really how we got the funding to start the project.”

Foss, along with Lance Benson, began recording and mixing to produce each track in January and finished in September.

The only requirement for artists was that song had to be Christmas based, which resulted in a lot of different genres being represented.  

“One song could be country, one could be rock, one was pop,” said Benson, “There's kind of a jazzy song on there, there's a piano instrumental. It's kind of like you had every type of spice (that) you could think of on the spice rack to work with.”

Mike Tangen, along with his 7-year old grandson Miles, and Gary Broste, recorded a version of “All I Want For Christmas.” Don Zieman wrote a song called “The River Sings,” which was sung by April Aylesworth and instrumentals by Dan Will, Don Leet and Ken Nichols.

“I thought (about) how important rivers are to people around the country,” Zieman said, “We have been in Bemidji 25 years now and (know) how important the Mississippi River is to the community.”

Benson recorded a version of “Blue Christmas” for the CD.

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“I went with a very different view of (it), not wanting to do the typical Elvis version of it. So we did a real upbeat version of it.”

The profits will once again support the scholarship program at Headwaters Schools of Music and the Arts.

“It benefits the community and it's a way to celebrate our community but it's also supporting the a wonderful local organization that meets a need in this community,” McGregor said.

“Christmas in Bemidji Volume 2” is available at the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts, Minnesota Nice Cafe and Bemidji Woolen Mills. Cost is $15.

The following songs  will be included on the “Christmas in Bemidji Volume 2” CD.

  • "Blue Christmas" by Lance Benson, Gary Broste, Ric Hoff and Troy Foss.

  • "The River Sings" by Don Zieman, April Aylesworth, Don Leet, Dan Will and Ken Nichols.

  • "Mary" by Jesica Conrad and Kari Pickett.

  • "All I Want for Christmas" by Mike Tangen and Gary Broste.

  • “Wintertime in Northern Minnesota” by Deb McGregor and Deanna Murphy.

  • “Christmas in Bemidji" by Kent Dudley, Lee Foster, Bennet Aube, Dan Will, Jared Noska, Lori Roed and Lance Benson.

  • "Pinecones and Hollyberries" by Kari Ekhoff, Eric Carlson and Aaron Schnackenberg.

  • "Soul Cake" by Caleigh, Lenore Siems, Dee Furfuro and April Larson.

  • "Noel" by Lori Roed, Deb McGregor, Deanna Murphy and Lance Benson.

  • "Baby It’s Cold Outside" by Annalise Aakhus and Mitch Gilb.

  • "Greensleeves" by Eric Sundeen and Sarah Sundeen.

  • "I’ll Be Home" by Alec Sessing, Bennett Aube, Lee Foster and Lance Benson.

 

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