Photo L to R: Vocalists Riley Hempsted, Baillie Kappel, Carmela Bucci, Tess Herwick, Jenna Barry, Maeoni Mazzzarese and Sound Recording Technician – Brianna Haggerty.
Each year, the Greene County Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Planning promotes Holiday Shopping & Dining at local businesses through its Buy In Greene initiative. Traditional online advertising is augmented with 30-second radio spots aired across the region, urging holiday shoppers to come Greene County’s 14 Catskill Mountain, Rural Valley, and Historic Hudson River towns during the months of November & December.
The challenge in producing a memorable radio ad is that it must be immediately recognizable, while getting the message across inside a 30-second timeframe. This year, the marketing team at KathodeRay Media collaborated with Greenville High School’s music director, Jon Meredith, and select students from his Music Technology program to do just that.
“The idea came from a brainstorming session, challenging me to write new lyrics to a familiar holiday tune”, recalls Mark Gustavson, who leads the Buy-In-Greene team at KathodeRay. “We landed on ‘Sleigh Ride’ and the new words came along pretty easily”
Holidays are the reason to shop this season in Greene
There’s simply so much bounty across the County of Greene
Come on up, you can shop on the mountain top, and the valley below
Find perfect gifts for everyone you know
Take your time and explore, you’ll find so much more on our charming streets
This year, share good times and good cheer when you come Buy In Greene.
Gustavson then pitched the concept to Jon Meredith at Greenville High, who immediately jumped at the opportunity, turning around a rough arrangement that fit the new words to the familiar tune by the following afternoon. He then went on to orchestrate the music, digitally recording the instruments using Apple’s Garage Band software, and identifying vocal talent from among his students.
The decision was made to record a single lead vocal, supported by background harmonies, and GHS Senior Baillie Kappel was the perfect choice to sing the piece. She first joined Riley Hempsted, Carmela Bucci, Tess Herwick, Jenna Barry, Maeoni Mazzzarese, Klaudia Reidell, Brianna Haggerty, Chris Henderson, Riley Uht, Rachel Shelburne, Alexis Langlois, to record the backing vocals with the assistance of sound technicians Brianna Haggerty and Fiona Allen. Once that was complete, Baillie recorded the solo lead vocal and the class mixed all the voices and instruments into a 30-second audio file.
“This was a great experience for both myself and my students” notes Meredith. “Getting a real-world recording/production project really gave us all a taste of what it’s like to apply the skills we’ve learned to an advertising campaign.”
The final spot will air 600 times during the months of November and December on radio stations WRIP and TheCAT.