More than 50 talented RVA musicians have joined Samson Trinh, director of the Upper East Side Big Band, to record an album that’s been eight years in the making.
With the launch of a Kickstarter campaign this fall, Trinh is making a final push to complete this labor of love and also share it with a large Central Virginia audience through a WCVE public television special just in time for Christmas 2014.
The Christmas Project features holiday favorites produced, arranged, orchestrated and conducted by Trinh. In addition to the Upper East Side Big Band, the album features orchestral strings and winds; the City Singers Children’s Choir, directed by Leslie Moruza Dripps and recorded at In Your Ear Studios; lead vocalists Laura Ann Singh (Quatro na Bossa), John Winn, Allyson Mills-Steele (Mills Family Band), Terri Simpson (Butterbean Jazz Quartet) and Adrian Duke. Production has taken place at Minimum Wage Recording, with engineering by Lance Koehler of No BS! Brass Band.
Self-funded until now, the Christmas Project has evolved slowly as studio time and musicians could be afforded. Trinh is optimistic that a Kickstarter campaign will bring the album to fruition, with the added bonus of a TV Christmas special.
The Christmas Project Kickstarter campaign has one essential goal and two stretch goals:
Goal 1 ($10,000): This October, the Upper East Side Big Band will record the final cuts of the holiday album at Minimum Wage Recording. Sessions also will be filmed as mini-documentaries and music videos, showing the project’s progression. Funds raised will be used to compensate musicians and cover the costs of studio time, filming, photography, song licensing and CD duplication.
Goal 2 (additional $20,000 Stretch Goal): With this STRETCH GOAL, Trinh will bring together a 22-piece studio orchestra and a children’s choir to perform before a live and televised audience at a local PBS station in Richmond, Va., just in time for the holidays. Funding also will allow the Upper East Side band to record new songs for an EP, set for a spring 2015 release date. Funding will be used to compensate musicians for their performance and to rent studio space at the station, film and sound production, photography and CD duplication for the EP.
Goal 3 (additional $3,500 Stretch Goal):
Deluxe edition of The Christmas Project on vinyl! Extra holiday tracks from the television special will be added to the 180-gram record. The heavier it weighs, the better it sounds. The Christmas Project vinyl edition is scheduled for release in Winter 2015.
With everyone’s kind pledges, the Upper East Side Big Band promises to create the most beautiful, sophisticated and mind-blowing Christmas album and television special that RVA has experienced Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
What I love about the Christmas Project is that I get to work with a wealth of talented RVA artists, musicians, filmmakers and sound production. I am fortunate and grateful that they believe in this insane undertaking. The compensation for our production goes beyond the norm of just completing a record. It brings together a large community that loves to create and present a musical odyssey to Richmond and beyond.
I carefully planned the Christmas Project by establishing one goal and two stretch goals. The biggest challenge from this project is working non-stop both as an administrator and a musical arranger. Deadlines are always present. However, I am confident that I will tackle this challenge based on my administrative and educational work with projects such as Uke 'n' Roll. Recently, this program that I founded has received residency grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts and University of Richmond's Partners in the Art to integrate ukuleles in classroom instruction at Hanover County and Richmond City Public Schools.
New challenging goals help engage an active community. And it's always a good sign to have an artistic work in progress because the outcome will always be positive and life changing.
Director of the Upper East Side Big Band
- (30 days)