LOS ANGELES–An employee of Pasadena FCU here has released a Christmas album.
Johnny Schaefer, the credit union’s marketing and business development director, has combined his love for all things Christmas with his musical skills to create From Here to Nativity, a collection of seven original and seven classic Christmas songs.
Schaefer crowd-funded the project raised nearly $5,000, 10% of which he donated to the Blessed Sacrament Church Choir in Hollywood, where he has been a cantor and soloist since 1981. Schaefer has a degree in Music Composition and Voice from California State University, Fullerton and has sung backup for Josh Groban, Melissa Manchester, Diahann Carroll and Sarah Vaughan.
“The album takes the listener from the season of Advent through Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and finally to Epiphany,” according to a release about the new album.
Schaefer recorded part of the album on the John Williams soundstage at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, while other tracks were recorded in a basement. He worked with a Grammy-nominated harpist on a Jazz waltz version of O Holy Night and the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria (also with cello). He also recorded a fifties rock and roll-style song he wrote about a boy who thinks he got stiffed by Santa called Oh Golly, Lookie, featuring former Everclear drummer Sean Winchester and a trio of doo-wop girls a la Little Shop of Horrors, according to the release.
"The project was probably the most joy-filled endeavor of my life,” he said. "I recorded an original composition of mine called Joseph's Prayer with Producer Stephan Oberhoff, who is currently co-producing with Quincy Jones. It is the most complex song I have written and he ‘got it’ right away. It was magical."
To accompany the album, a video was shot in the iconic Stats Home Decoration Center, which is dubbed "The Disneyland of Christmas stores," and Schaefer will present a mini-concert and CD signing at the store, which is just a few blocks from the PFCU branch.
“I try to keep the two worlds separate, but many of the people in the community responding to the music project also know me as a face of the credit union, so I try to represent both well,” he said.
From Here to Nativity is Johnny's second album. Both are available through his website, www.hearjohnny.com, and by Googling "Johnny Schaefer, From Here to Nativity" and then either iTunes, Amazon, Google Play Music, Spotify or just about any other online music retailer or streaming service.
Video for All the Babes on Christmas Born can be found here
Video for Ave Maria (Bach-Gounod) can be found here
And video for People Look East can be found here