David Reedy has a rule about Christmas music for students at his Reed Music Studios in Onalaska: They don’t start working on yuletide holiday songs until after Halloween. This year, though, he had to violate that rule himself, but it was for a good cause.
Starting in July on a trip to Florida, Reedy started working on solo piano arrangements of his favorite Christmas songs. “This was a totally new experience,” he said with a laugh.
He was staying with friends, and when the time came for him to start playing, he’d warn his friends about the impending holly-jolly music ahead. “I made sure they were at the pool,” he said. “I told them to go take a swim when it was time for me to play.”
Reedy wasn’t pounding out “Jingle Bells” and “Winter Wonderland” while the Florida surf pounded outside just for the fun of it. After hearing about a major animal neglect and abuse case in the town of Onalaska, Reedy decided he wanted to do something to help the Coulee Region Humane Society. And he decided the best way to help is to do what he does best: play piano.
Reedy did his first solo piano album, “As Time Goes By,” in 2013, and he came back the next year with another collection, “Rhythms of Life.” Working on those two albums — on top of running his thriving business — took a lot out of him. He wasn’t in a hurry to record another album, even though people kept asking him when his next album was coming out.
When Reedy settled on doing a Christmas album, he started thinking about what songs he’d enjoy sitting back and listening to with a glass of wine in the yuletide season. His favorite Christmas song has always been “Christmas Time Is Here,” a song he first heard in the beloved holiday TV show, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
“That had to be on the album,” Reedy said. “That was my first absolute selection.”
In the end, he also included “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” “Jingle Bells Ballad,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” “What Child Is This?,” “Carol of the Bells,” “I Wonder As I Wander,” “A Christmas Celebration (medley)” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Reedy recorded all 11 songs on the album in one sitting, with help from recording engineer Chris Scheuerman. He also got graphics help from Renee Chrz and photography and internet assistance on the project from Nick Lechnir.
While Reedy might have recorded the songs on the album he’s dubbed “The Season” in quick succession — several of them on the first take — they all bear his stamp. “I’m not for cookie-cutter versions of anything. I like to use the full spectrum of sound and emotion,” he said. “I have to say, and this is rare for me, that I am very pleased with how this turned out.”
For every copy of “The Season” sold, Reedy plans to donate $5 to the Coulee Region Humane Society, with a goal of donating at least $5,000 to the CRHS by Christmas. Almost a month ahead of the Nov. 10 release, Reedy already had pre-sold a quarter of the initial run of 1,000 CDs.