Christmas CD to help area youth

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It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas thanks to a new CD of holiday favorites performed by home-grown Valencia County talent.

The album, which features 16 tracks of holiday cheer, ranging from the traditional to the humorous, was produced by the New Mexico Youth Foundation and Alliance, a nonprofit established in 1998.

Julia M. Dendinger-News-Bulletin photo: Nick Blea, one of the founders of the New Mexico Youth Foundation and Alliance, proudly holds a copy of the Christmas music CD that two local youth groups will sell to raise funds for their projects.

One of the foundation’s founders, village of Bosque Farms businessman Nick Blea, was at a Rotary Club meeting in Las Vegas a few years ago. The club had produced a CD of Christmas music using area musicians.

“I bought a copy and it was great. I listen to it all the time,” Blea said.

Looking for a way to help raise money to carry on with the foundation’s mission of supporting local youth programs, Blea realized the deep talent pool of Valencia County would be an ideal place to start.

In February, Blea sent out a call for artists, knowing that coordinating the musicians schedules and studio time to record the tracks would be hectic.

A few times, he thought the album might not get finished. One studio owner ended up out sick for about six weeks and just as he was healthy enough to come back to work, his equipment was blitzed by a lightening storm.

“We were a couple months behind at one point, but we managed to get it all done,” Blea said.

While the foundation helps support youth programs, the money isn’t free.

“We don’t just give an organization money,” he said. “The kids have to participate. We are helping kids to help themselves.”

Each year, the foundation selects various schools and youth organizations to receive grants and partner on projects with.

This year, the foundation will be helping the Boys and Girls Club of Valencia County and the Calvary Chapel Academy in Belen. Youth from both organizations will be selling the Christmas CDs — aptly titled “A Valencia Christmas” — for $15 each. All proceeds from the sales will be kept by the respective organizations.

The album features songs in English, Spanish and German, Blea said. Performers include city of Rio Communities opera singer Van Ann Moore, local professor and artist Noe Lara, city of Belen favorite Jerry Jaramillo and the New Mexico Special Orchestra.

Blea said the orchestra has a special place, close to his heart, and he is thrilled to have the group perform on the album.

“When I called Gair (Linhart), I told him the orchestra could sell the CDs too and keep the proceeds it made,” Blea said. “He turned it down. It just goes to show that there are always those willing to help just for the sake of helping others.”

Linhart is the founder, general manager and artistic director of the orchestra.

Calvary is planning to use the money to develop a practice field and dirt running track, Blea said.

“They have a big field behind their school that is open to the community,” he said. “This will allow them to have a place for PE classes and for people to just get outside. This is a small school in a low-income area that doesn’t get any public funding and relies on donations, volunteers and dedicated teachers.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Valencia County will use the funds to continue providing services to county youth.

The CD can also be purchased at the foundation’s website, www.newmexicoyouth.org.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.