Buena High School releases first album since the pandemic

Sierra Ruiz, Renee Morales, Siobhan Westfall, Destynie Hogue-Villanueva, and Marimar Ilias sing “Hanukkah,” “Breath of Winter,” and “Underneath the Tree.”

On December 9th, students at Buena High School released Volume 5 of their annual Not-So-Silent Night CD album, after having to go on hiatus last year due to the pandemic. Utilizing their on-campus recording studio, the Buena High School Choir has selected various winter-themed songs (secular and holiday-oriented) to record and release for digital download. Over the past 6 years, their previous albums (Volumes 1-4) have been heard in dozens of countries across the world, from Iceland to Indonesia.

Choir director Kevin Downey states, “Students were devastated that they were not able to sing together in real-time during the pandemic. Since we have been back at school, you can really see students’ spirits being lifted as we sing together in harmony and record beautiful music again.”

Because streaming music only provides limited/miniscule compensation for artists, the album is being released as a physical CD and download exclusively, with streaming planned for a later release; therefore, everyone who buys this album is helping to keep the arts alive in our public schools, and to provide meaningful and authentic experiences for our students. Thanks to the charitable support of Yhr Ventura Education Partnership and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the BHS Choir has been able to create and sustain Buena’s recording studio and Not-So-Silent Night albums.

Junior choir student Sierra Ruiz, who also helped design some of the album artwork says, “At first, recording for an actual album was nerve-wracking, but we learned to have fun in the studio. It all brought us together and made us a lot closer.”

While it is difficult for most young artists to get started making music on their own, Buena students are using this special opportunity to create quality work. According to professional audio engineer Devon Hammond, “I’m really loving the album myself because it both has unique versions of classics, as well as plenty of songs I was unfamiliar with. It ends up feeling like listening to the radio during the holidays, but the DJ is playing a bunch of deep cuts. I’ve definitely got a few new holiday faves from working on this.”

Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to support the arts in our local, public schools, and fill your holidays with joy by downloading the Not-So-Silent Night, Volume 5 album. Just search “The Buena High School Choir” on iTunes or Amazon Music. The physical CD is available for sale in the school’s ASB store and library.

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