Just a few weeks ago, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, a group of young children from the town of Newtown, CT gathered to take part in what would hopefully be a healing experience. These young girls and boys were joined by their parents who you could tell were still very affected by the recent turn of events in their close knit community. Whether it was pulling them in close (perhaps a tiny bit more than they used to) as they put their coats on to play outside, leaning in for a silent embrace with their spouse as they watched the kids play, or keeping an extra watchful eye on their child, it seemed as though the adults were finding new ways to deal with the lingering emotion from the tragedy.
The day began with the children arriving at the home of Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth from Tom Tom Club and Talking Heads, and gathering in their living room to hear an encouraging pep-talk from their director Sabrina before they began the task at hand for the day. The mission? To honor the victims, many their close friends and neighbors, of the Sandy Hook tragedy through song. These children, who were part of a performance group in Newtown called Sabrina’s Encore Productions, were there to record a version of “Over The Rainbow” with the lovely singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. The proceeds from the track would go to the Newtown Youth Academy and United Way of Connecticut. We were also joined by Good Morning America who were there to help record a wonderful piece on the making of the video and help promote the track by later inviting the group to perform on their show.
During the recording, the mood didn’t lean towards sad or somber. The air was filled with a buzz of youthful excitement that perhaps had been pinned up for the weeks before. I asked one parent how their kids were feeling about this project, and her response was that the children were thrilled to finally find a way to help. They don’t have money to give, and they aren’t privy to the different charities and organizations that you can volunteer for. These children, in particular, knew their talents. They knew how to perform and if they could just use that to give back, they could feel as though they’ve made a difference. And boy have they ever…
Our team of busy bodies from all parts of the industry pulled together to make all of this happen with less than a week to prepare. Our graphic designer Drew Schorno came up with the beautiful artwork, our Interactive Marketing team and designers created a dedicated homepage for the project, including behind the scenes footage and more information about the project, and a similar splash page directing to buy sites, which you can find before entering our blog.
To date, we have had fantastic sales and we can only attribute this to the hard working team of people working on this project, including the children’s choir, production team, and the consumers that dipped into their pockets and their hearts to contribute. The wake of this tragedy will never truly end for many of those affected but we are honored to have contributed to the healing of those individuals and put money back into the local organizations that will better the lives of the youth of Newtown and Connecticut. May they smile each time they hear this heartwarming rendition of “Over The Rainbow” sung by Ingrid Michaelson and the children of Newtown.