Seventh graders release CD to benefit Shaw House

Posted Dec. 19, 2012, at 9:43 a.m.
Shianne Priest, the music teacher at Leonard Middle School in Old Town, asked her music-appreciation students last September what they wanted to undertake as a service-learning project that involved music. The students decided to compose a song that would help raise funds for the Shaw House in Bangor.
Shianne Priest, the music teacher at Leonard Middle School in Old Town, asked her music-appreciation students last September what they wanted to undertake as a service-learning project that involved music. The students decided to compose a song that would help raise funds for the Shaw House in Bangor. Buy Photo
The inside jacket cover for the “Home is a Feeling” CD features images of singer Lily Muscatell and Leonard Middle School students sitting on the Shaw House steps in Bangor. The students study music appreciation at the school.
courtesy of Shianne Priest
The inside jacket cover for the “Home is a Feeling” CD features images of singer Lily Muscatell and Leonard Middle School students sitting on the Shaw House steps in Bangor. The students study music appreciation at the school.

A holiday CD released just a few weeks ago will help brighten Christmas and the New Year for homeless teens living at the Shaw House in Bangor.

The song “Home is a Feeling” was jointly developed and produced by seventh-graders at Old Town’s Leonard Middle School, an aspiring young composer/singer from Bradley, and the New England School of Communications in Bangor. According to LMS music teacher Shianne Priest, the song and its fundraising goal originated last September with the 25 seventh-grade students attending her music-appreciation class.

“We wanted to take on a service-learning project” that would involve the students supporting a local non-profit while learning about music, Priest explained.

Her students decided “they wanted to take part in the composition of a song” to be written and composed by Lily Muscatell of Bradley. Now a sophomore at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, she attended Leonard Middle School.

Priest, Muscatell, and the seventh-graders visited the Shaw House — a shelter for homeless teens — in mid-October. “It was a really eye-opening experience,” Priest recalled. “To be able to write a song that would have meaning to this place, we had to experience it.”

The visit “was a real awareness-raiser” for her students, who “brainstormed words to start the song” and provided much material for Muscatell, Priest said. Working with the material, Muscatell wrote the lyrics for “Home is a Feeling.”

According to Priest, “the concept for the song” is that “a home isn’t necessarily four walls,” but “the feeling you get when you are loved and safe and feel comfortable.”

Joshua Small, a NESCom instructor, offered to professionally record the song. On Tuesday, Nov. 20, Priest and her students sat in a NESCom sound room and watched and listened as Muscatell recorded the lyrics, which were set to acoustic guitar.

Then Tim Larson, an information technologist at Leonard Middle School, “created a really fantastic CD cover and insert” and made 300 copies of the “Home is a Feeling” CD, Priest said.

Priced at $3 apiece, the CDs are on sale at:

• The Leonard Middle School, 156 Oak St., Old Town;

• The Old Town YMCA, 472 Stillwater Ave., Old Town;

• Ampersand, 22 Mill St., Orono;

• Bull Moose Records, 665 Stillwater Ave., Bangor.

The CD can also be purchased by mailing a check made out to “Leonard Middle School” to Leonard Middle School, 156 Oak St., Old Town, ME 04468.

All proceeds from the CDs will go to the Shaw House. Priest’s students set a fundraising goal of $2,013; they hope the first 300 CDs will sell out by Christmas so more CDs can be produced and sold.

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