Release Date: 11/17/2010
Christmas CD to Benefit Jefferson County Pregnancy Center
Alicia and Pat Cummiskey of Festus perform at Six Flags in 2009, as part of the Hearts on Fire band, a Contemporary Christian Music group that has recorded a Christmas CD.
Alicia Cummiskey, 47, has been singing since she was a little girl, performing gospel music with her family. She currently sings every week in the choir, alongside her guitarist husband, Pat, at the Faith Baptist Church in Festus. And, about once a month, both Cummiskeys perform at local worship services, benefits and coffee houses as part of a Contemporary Christian band, Hearts on Fire.
Cummiskey’s voice now can be heard on a Christmas CD, recorded and produced by the Festus couple and 31 of their closest friends.
“Pat came up with the idea to produce a Christmas CD, with proceeds from sales to benefit a local charity,” Cummiskey said.
Cummiskey, who has worked as an administrative assistant for St. Anthony’s Medical Center’s Charitable Foundation for more than three years, was familiar with the many needs of the community. But, in this case, selecting the charity was easy, she said.
“A woman in my Bible study class was talking about the opening of a new Jefferson County Pregnancy Care Center in Crystal City, which seemed like a perfect fit for this project,” Cummiskey said. “They provide support to young girls who are pregnant, helping with medical expenses, baby supplies, parenting classes and emotional needs. The Center receives no government funding, but relies completely on donations.”
The Cummiskeys began recruiting musicians and singers from their church and their circle of friends and family, and, over the course of eight months, had an ensemble of 33 people. Another St. Anthony’s employee, Rod Bandy, who works as manager of product integration in Information Services at the medical center, plays drums on a song on the CD; his daughter is one of the soloists.
Once a song was chosen by each singer, Pat Cummiskey burned copies of the songs and passed them out to the musicians and singers to familiarize themselves with the music. He scheduled recording sessions once or twice a week, from February through October.
“They all are religious Christmas songs, like ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ and ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ except for one, ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’, which is performed by our son and our nephew,” Cummiskey said. “Some songs are contemporary, some are traditional. We are so fortunate to have this group of wonderfully talented people who so willingly gave their time for such a great cause.”
The singing actually was the easy part, Cummiskey said. After each recording session, Pat spent hours mixing the music, then mixing in the vocals. Her biggest challenge – besides making sure the musicians were there – was locating copyrights and obtaining permission to record the songs that were not already part of the public domain.
But now their months of effort have paid off. The Cummiskeys have 500 copies of “A Faithful Christmas” available for purchase. After expenses, which amounted to about $1,000, they are hoping to net some $4,000 for the Pregnancy Care Center.
“We feel so passionately about this cause,” Cummiskey said. “Dealing with pregnancy is such a struggle for young girls; they need support and they need to be educated about their options. Babies are such a gift from God, just as Jesus is the ultimate gift; so it seems appropriate that a CD of songs about Jesus’ birthday be a fundraiser to help a pregnancy care center. “We are all so excited to be part of this!”
The Cummiskeys live in Festus and have four children and two grandchildren.
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