Album for an auditorium - Manchester High School Choir records fund-raising set
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
While many high school choirs perform mainly at their institution and small events, the Manchester High School Choir has gone further to produce their own album, The Best of the Manchester High School Choir.
The 60-member choir recently recorded six songs for the set, which will be released on September 1, the beginning of the 2014/2015 academic year.
The school's former choir director and producer for the album, Adiel Thomas, said the idea was sparked by the high calibre of singers at Manchester High and the need to raise funds to build a new school auditorium.
"As a teacher at the school, it was something I always wanted to do, but time ran out on me before I got to do it. However, in March, I realised that I needed to seize the opportunity because most of the students would be graduating," said Thomas, noting that it is the same choir that won the All Together Sing competition in 2012.
He stopped teaching at Manchester High at the end of the 2012/2013 academic year.
"I also saw a need to do it because I expressed a concern to the principal, Mr Gabriel, about some sort of fundraising for the auditorium and we jumped on it," he added.
Thomas said The Best of the Manchester High School Choir was recorded in two days. Mixing and mastering took a month.
Despite working with a large group of teenagers, Thomas said the process "... was easy as usual. Whenever I get to work with them it is special, because of the bond that we grew. The recording process was tiring, but I was working with my kids, so that offset some of it."
Thomas said the album has original songs like Better Way and Nobody Cyah Stop Wi, a tribute to the Jamaican athletes at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Moscow, Russia. He added that the album is a "real mix" of different genres.
However, the project is more a labour of love for Thomas, who produced the The Best of the Manchester High School Choir free of cost. "We did it for free, my partner and I. That's what I do, production. We are pretty much doing it for the school so they can build a new auditorium," he said.
Thomas is very optimistic about sales, as the main target market is Manchester High past students and persons closely associated with the school. He said the album will be available on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby, as well as at Fontana Pharmacy outlets islandwide. He added that promotion will be done in the local media and Manchester High Past Student Association chapters in Florida, Atlanta and Toronto will be made aware of the album.
"I think this is a huge step forward. Just the fact that the kids could record an album professionally speaks volumes of how far (they can go) and how much children can do," said Thomas, who is the leader of Adiel Thomas and Ministry which is currently doing a series of shows in Atlanta, United States.
"I feel ecstatic that, through working together, we were able to do something that we have always wanted to do and something that is a by-product of being in the All Together Sing competition. I am grateful that the world will get a taste of what we have accomplished," Thomas said.