RIC freshmen produce an album to celebrate the holidays.
Renowned singer Mariah Carey has made it known that she’s the Queen of Christmas, but freshman Alex Celico may be her equal, carrying the unofficial title of King of Christmas at Rhode Island College.
“All my friends will tell you that I’m all about Christmas,” says Celico, a 19-year-old music major.
He is the mastermind behind rallying 12 fellow freshmen music majors to produce their Christmas album “Slay Bells: A Very Merry RIC-Mas.” The album mainly features vocalists, Celico on piano and a couple of members playing cello and trumpet. It contains their take on 25 holiday classics ranging from “Blue Christmas” to “Frosty the Snowman.” The album was released on November 23 and is available on YouTube.
“We started working on the album the second week of the fall semester and began recording near the end of October,” Celico recalls. “It’s not a perfect album, but that’s the beauty of it.”
Celico approached vocalist Emma Fitts-Pruitt, his friend and classmate, about co-producing the album.
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” says Fitts-Pruitt. She enlisted the help of her friend Brady DeSousa, who has a studio in his home.
“Brady helped us mix the songs and used software to make the album sound professional,” says Celico.
Despite the long sessions recording “Slay Bells”, vocalist Shaylyn White says the endeavor was a labor of love.
“This will be very memorable for me because I’ve never recorded an album before,” she says. “I really don’t have a favorite song on the album. I loved them all. The whole experience was a great way for us to bond and become closer.”
Fitts-Pruitt agreed. “Creating this project engrained a sense of teamwork among us. We hope it gets people in the holiday spirit and brings as much joy as it brought us to make it.”
Celico says the album has received rave reviews from his family and friends, who’ve shared it on several digital platforms. He anticipates that a second Christmas album may be on the horizon.
Their music theory professor Todd Borgerding says he’s proud of their efforts.
“It’s really fantastic that these first-year students found time and energy outside of class to do this project,” he says. “I smile every time I think about it. They are an extraordinary class, but then again, not so different from other classes that have come through our Music Department. We’re a tight-knit community over here, and it’s one of my daily joys to see our students together in the hall or student lounge talking, working and supporting each other.”