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RSU 18 Choral CD on Grammy ballot!

In April of 2016, a beautiful, heartfelt CD called “Songs of Darkness and Hope” was recorded by the choral students in our district.

Today, John Baker, the Grammy-nominated recording engineer who was involved with the recording of the album just posted this to the MHS Chorus Page:

“Dear Messalonskee High School/Middle School/Elementary Schools Choir members and music teachers: two days ago, on Monday, October 16, 2017, the Grammy Awards ballot was published by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

In the Choral category is listed the Messalonskee Public Schools album “Songs of Darkness and Hope” released in September. There is no other public school entry on the ballot.

May I offer my personal congratulations, and thanks for the honor and humbling experience of working with all of you on this very significant project, your outstanding talent, and dedication in bringing this music to life, and to Pam and Kevin Rhein for the concept and hard work behind the scenes in making the project happen. What happens next is up to the voters to decide, but nomination or not, you ALL have achieved an accomplishment of a lifetime! Well done.”

The creation of “Songs of Darkness and Hope” involved over 400 choral students ages 10-18 under the direction of choral teachers Kevin Rhein, Pam Rhein, Amy Peterson and Josh Bickford. The recording was overseen by audio engineer John Baker with the assistance music teacher Andy Forster and music production student Vitaliy Reshetnyk and was done over two days in April of 2016 at the MHS Performing Arts Center and the Pleasant Street Methodist Church in Waterville.  The album features songs intimately connected with the concentration camps and the experiences of the European Jewish population during WWII and will be given out to visitors at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine.

According to Mr. Rhein, “Mr Baker was so moved by the concept of the album that his company, Affetto Records, wanted to make it one of their special projects.” Mr. Baker connected with a national distributor, and thanks to his efforts Naxos Records, one of the largest distributors of classical music, has now picked up the album for worldwide distribution.

“It is so incredibly humbling,” said Mr. Rhein. “The project has grown far beyond our wildest dreams!”

Mr. and Mrs. Rhein, with the assistance of their Tri-M Music Honor Society students, are now in the process of sending copies to every Holocaust & Human Rights Center in the United States. If you would like a copy of “Songs of Darkness and Hope” you can find it on Itunes and Amazon.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the project.

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