Archive for Monday, October 22, 2001

Kansan hoping for greater success with Christmas song

October 22, 2001

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— After a Christmas song he wrote 10 years ago sold many times over what he expected when marketed for the first time last year, Tim Schumacher has high hopes as he gears up for a second season.

The song, "Baby Jesus and Santa Claus," was a compact disc single that Schumacher sold to benefit the Mary Elizabeth Maternity Home, a home in Hays where unmarried girls and young women can stay while awaiting birth.

Schumacher had figured he might sell 50 of the CDs, but favorable nationwide publicity about his venture created heavy demand. Eventually more than 2,500 copies were sold, and because the work involved was virtually all volunteer, the maternity home netted $7,000 after expenses, including $1,000 from an anonymous donor.

This year Schumacher hopes to do even better with the CD he's marketing as "The First Christmas Classic of the New Century."

"There has been a lot of exposure of the kneeling Santa and the baby Jesus that you see on Hallmark cards, but we have yet to find a song that has tied Baby Jesus and Santa Claus together with Christmas," Schumacher said. "Now, there is one."

After the overwhelming response a year ago, Schumacher hit the ground running after the first of the year in hopes of getting a head start on this year's orders.

"First, we went back into the studio and did some cleanup of things that we were rushed to do last year," he said. "And we decided to go with a more professional-looking cover."

Schumacher knows last year's response was due in part to first-time success, but he might have an even better peg this year.

Schumacher is encouraged because the refrain of his song contains "feel-good" phrases that he says people are craving following last month's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

"It's ironic that I wrote the song 10 years ago, and here it is 10 years later when we really need to be thinking of these things," Schumacher said of the refrain that begins, "Working on peace, love and harmony."

"We need to be working on peace, love and harmony, and I hope people do grab onto that," Schumacher said.

To keep up with the numbers this year, Schumacher sent the song to a professional duplicating company in New Jersey.

Otherwise, the rest of the work has been done locally, from musicians to vocalists, from producers to models for the cover, from photographers to performers.

"We could have farmed this out to some professionals, but who can sing better than Mary Kay?" Schumacher said of the lead vocalist, Mary Kay Schippers of Hays.

Schumacher also was adamant about keeping the marketing of the CD local, for now anyway. And the Mary Elizabeth Home still will receive partial proceeds from the CD sales.

"We've tested the big market," Schumacher said. "But for this year again anyway, we wanted to keep it grassroots."

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