"Raising money has never been so much fun!" says Lisa Lewis, professional musician and Music Minister with the Catholic Parish of the Lower North Shore, Sydney.
Lisa and her team have pulled together members of Northbridge Children's Choir and the local community, together with staff and children from St Philip Neri and St Thomas's schools, to help raise money to buy a church-bell for the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. The church is currently under construction in the village of Eraulo, in the Parish of Letefoho.
Lisa reports that the children's choir singers were hitting all the right notes in their recording session of 'Jingle Bells' - which is amongst other seasonal favourites to be included in a Christmas CD. All proceeds from the CD, which is titled 'Joy', will go to the purchase of the new bell.
This is the second year running that Lisa has produced a Christmas CD featuring the Northbridge Children's Choir to raise money for LETS.
Adding a touch of multiculturalism this year, the children's choir recorded the ever-popular 'Jingle Bells' in different languages. They even added a rap. St Philip Neri School Principal, Ms Sue Bevan, was so impressed, she couldn't help chiming in to help the cause!
Meanwhile, professional singer and food writer, Kristy Komadina, has recorded a hauntingly beautiful vocal performance of the 'Coventry Carol', along with the children. In a lovely touch, two of Kristy's own children are amongst the junior choir singers accompanying her track.
Still keeping it in the family, Lisa's husband, John Lewis - also a professional musician - has pitched in to help out for the second year running. He is doing all of the CD-mixing, mastering, producing and arranging, while also playing the bass guitar and the clarinet... is there no end to this man's talents?!
"St.Thomas's School Choir were all smiles with their choir-leader, Ms Fi O'Shaunessy, and did brilliant singing on the track 'Away in a Manger' for the Christmas CD.", said Lisa.
"We also had a big tribe of a choir in the studio for the African Christmas Song, 'Sing Noel' which sounds absolutely wonderful! They sound fabulous and really pulled out all the stops for this great cause!", Lisa added.
Family and community spirit are at the heart of this project, as is the true meaning of Christmas. "'Holding a new born always brings the essence of love and life into focus. I am so thrilled to sing a song that captivates those special moments we have at Christmas when we invite the love of the baby Jesus into our realities.', says Anne Maree Higgins, another stunning local music talent involved in the project. Anne Maree, who is well-known as the composer of 'Mass for Living', sings 'O Holy Night' on the CD.
"We are also very fortunate to have Jessica Wells, renowned composer and arranger from Naremburn, who has done the arrangement of 'O Holy Night' for the CD.", noted Lisa. "She is multi-talented too - she plays keyboard in the band at church, with the St.Leonards Singers - when she's not recording for the Wiggles in Melbourne!".