Starr’s Mill singers serenade babies

Some babies in Fayette County are sleeping more soundly now, lulled to dreamland by the songs of the a cappella vocal jazz ensemble at Starr’s Mill High.

The 20 all-girl members of An Octave Above musical group selected soothing songs, recorded them on CDs and donated them to the Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center. Graduating senior Anna Stalzer hit on the idea while brainstorming ways to have fun with music in a year when in-person performances were cancelled.

“We usually do performances to raise money,” said Stalzer. “But we thought the lullaby CD would be cute and give us a way to have some quality time together.”

The students looked through their music library and selected six calming songs to record. The final selections included “Light in the Hallway,” Billy Joel’s “Lullabye,” Eric Whitacre’s “The Seal Lullaby,” “All Is Found” from “Frozen II” and “Lunar Lullaby.” Then they decided to add another element: baby blankets.

“We wanted to do something else that brought us together, and making blankets gave us a chance to talk the whole time,” Stalzer said. “We had a few people who had made them before for other events, and they taught us how to do it. We wound up making about 20.”

The project reflected the group’s closeness, said John Odom, director of choral activities at Starr’s Mill.

“When Anna suggested recording a CD of songs, the girls got really excited,” he said. “The energy in the room spiked. They see themselves as sisters more than peers or just a group of performers. This bond manifests itself in a real desire to do things together beyond the performing stage.”

Choral parents donated material for the blankets, and the singers broke into groups to make them. “They were in the hallway and in the choral room making blankets,” he said. “It was great to see.”

The finished blankets and the CDs, packed into sleeves with the singers’ photo on the front, were delivered to the center, a nonprofit that offers support to women, men and families facing unplanned pregnancies.

“They [at the center] were thrilled,” said Odom. “They especially loved that the items were handmade. And An Octave Above had a sense of accomplishment and humble pride that their hands and their voices would be used to give a small bit of comfort to new, young lives as they enter our world.”

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