Samantha O’Donnell has grown up with music. She sings and plays the drums.
O’Donnell’s father is a member of the Fabulous Armadillos, a local band with a loyal following in central Minnesota, so she has been in a recording studio before. But is wasn’t until recently that the All Saints Academy sixth-grader was able to participate in her own recording session.
As one of several Catholic Schools Week activities, students at the school’s St. Joseph campus spent Feb. 2 recording songs for a fundraiser CD at Rockhouse Productions — a studio run by Jeff and Tommy Vee, sons of the late Bobby Vee.
“Getting to do it was kind of like a different perspective,” said O’Donnell.
“You listen to the radio and hear people, but really don’t know where that comes from. Actually getting to be inside that was cool,” she said.
Music teacher Mary Schumann helped the students in each grade prepare a song for their session.
“The experience was exceptional,” Schumann said. “The kids’ behavior was wonderful. I love working with them.”
The students have been preparing for their moment of fame in music classes all year.
“We practiced a lot, so I think we were really ready for how loud we had to sing,” said sixth-grader Emanuel Kutzera.
“It was a good experience. I liked that it was in Catholic Schools Week because that’s just a really fun week,” he said.
“Mary did an awesome job with those kids,” said Jeff Vee.
“It’s a funny thing, because you can get a room full of kids and it can be complete chaos,” he said. “But when you get them to focus like that, they’re clearly excited and prepared. It’s fun to just be a part of that energy.
“It’s more than being a fundraiser,” he said. “It’s such a great experience for the kids. I mean, not everybody has a recording studio just across the street from their school.”
Schumann went into the studio for the first time herself the day before the students so she could record the music tracks for each of the songs with the Vee brothers and another musician.
“I’d never done that before either, so it was really fun for me, but very nerve-racking at first,” she said.
“They made me feel so welcome.”
The Vee family has been very supportive of Catholic schools over the years and they are very involved in the community, Schumann said.
“This has been so fun. Our kids have just enjoyed it.”
The CD will be available for purchase at a later date. For information, contact All Saints Academy, St. Joseph campus at 320-363-7769.