Local eye doctor sees musical vision through CD

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 12, 2002

The producer calls his work "creative community service."

David Sutton, a local eye doctor, is the center of a Christmas CD that features the talents of more than 100 musicians from the region including Austin.

After hearing of the success of his first Christmas CD released last year, Sutton decided it to do it again. The CD combines an array of voices and musical styles of "homegrown" flavor.

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"All the individuals performing on this CD are amateurs who do something else for a living, but who make music to live," Sutton said.

The final product, which took about a year to create, was released on Thanksgiving and has sold more than 1,000 copies of the 1,200 made.

"People like to hear music from people they know," Sutton said.

The project evolved from word of mouth.

"I'd be working with someone and that person knew someone else that could be interested," Sutton said.

The Austin High School Austinaires contributed to the CD with an old Spanish madrigal -- Riu, Riu, Chiu -- that was recorded at the school's auditorium.

"Everyone knows the Austinaires are really good," Sutton said. Last year, he asked the director of the group if they were interested, but because schedule conflicts could not participate.

The Austinaires have been a tradition at AHS since at least the 1960s. "They are the cream of the crop. It is a select group," said Brian Johnson, director of the Austinaires. Students audition every year at the end of the spring term. Eleven boys and 11 girls are selected.

"I was so thrilled about the experience. It sounded so professional, not like something you do with a tape recorder," said Elizabeth Goskesen, a junior alto.

Goskesen, a first-year Austinaire, said it's nice to see a name on the CD and recognize it. "You can see the people walkin down the street. I used to work at the same place with Kelly Jones."

Jones, a former Austinaire, composed her own song Mary Lullaby for the CD. "The song is my art, an expression of myself. It is neat to have a final product, something tangible."

Jones heard about the project from her friend Brian Larson, who was also an Austinaire and the son of Sutton's piano teacher. Larson accompanies Jones' cello.

"The project involved a lot of the skills I use in my eye practice; working with people and technology," Sutton said. Sutton trained in music recording and mixing at the Recording Workshop in Chilicothe, Ohio. He plays piano, guitar, congas and harmonica. He wrote one of the songs in the CD.

Though the artists contributed $95 per song, Sutton financed most of it. The project was also sponsored by Hormel, Hy-Vee in Albert Lea and Austin, Anderson Hallmark and Sutton's clinic.

"For most of these musicians, it is not about the money, but the thrill, the spiritual significance, a way to communicate with God," he said.

The art work on the CD is also local. Sutton, who resides in Albert Lea, put an announcement in the newspaper for an art contest. Three different winners were chosen.

"It's an art form that people of all ages, walks of life and denominations can enjoy," Sutton said.

Roxana Orellana can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail roxana.orellana@austindailyherald.com