By SUSAN CORICA, The Bristol Press
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — When Caleigh Lozito decided to record a Christmas CD to benefit an orphanage in Haiti the song she chose to lead off with was "Grown Up Christmas List."
"I think (the song) portrays the message of what this CD is about, which is helping people during this season of giving," the 19-year-old city resident said.
The lyrics, in part, go:
So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need
No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list.
The seed for Lozito's project was planted last summer when she went on a mission trip to the Kay Mari Orphanage in Haiti through the Haiti180 organization.
"I was there for six days," she said. "It was extremely eye-opening. You hear about the earthquake in Haiti (in 2010) and honestly when I was there if someone told me the earthquake happened the day before I would believe it. There is still so much destruction and yet these people have such a positive outlook on life. That was so beautiful to me."
"When I left I really felt like there was more that I could do," Lozito said. "So I thought because I love to sing, and because I had thought about making a Christmas CD for a while, that maybe I could put two and two together and make this CD and have all the net proceeds go to Haiti180."
Lozito is a graduate of St. Paul Catholic High School, where she was active in the musical theater program. For about 10 years she took voice lessons with Ken Ferris, retired longtime music teacher in the Bristol schools and Bristol Chorale Society artistic director.
She is currently a musical theater major at Western Connecticut State University and hopes to go into teaching and acting when she graduates.
To get started with her project, she chose eight of her favorite Christmas songs and found online pre-recorded tracks in keys and styles she liked. With financial help from her parents, she booked recording time at Riverway Studio in East Haddam.
Studio co-owner Ira Sakolsky helped produce the tracks, Lozito said. "When there was stuff I wasn't sure about, he really helped me figure out ways to get my message across."
She now has the finished CD, titled "A Time For Giving," for sale for $10 each.
"Her voice is incredible," Ferris said of his former student.
That she is doing this to raise money for the orphans makes it even more amazing, he said. "Many young people of her age are looking out for themselves, but she has never been that way. She has always been a gentle soul."
Ferris has made "Grown Up Christmas List," and two other tracks from the CD, "Oh Holy Night" and "Believe," available to preview on the Bristol Chorale Society's website bristolchoralsociety.org/caleigh-lozito.html.
"When you listen to it you are going to be totally enthralled with the beauty of her voice. I'm so very proud of her and what she's done with her voice," he said.
Information from: The Bristol Press, http://www.bristolpress.com