Students outside the studio at The College of Saint Rose.
Students outside the studio at The College of Saint Rose.
The chorus at St. Jude the Apostle School in Wynantskill is accustomed to displaying its talents in public: The third- through sixth-graders perform at malls, VA hospitals, community events in Troy and locally-televised Christmas concerts.

So it wasn't a huge leap for the group to record an album.

"I'm always looking for different opportunities," said Nicholas Ascioti, the music teacher at the school and music director for St. Jude parish. "We don't have a sports team or anything like that, so I try to make [the chorus] as special as possible."

The 28 students in the choir voted for their favorite songs to record; Mr. Ascioti used his connections at his alma mater, The College of Saint Rose in Albany, to schedule a studio session to lay down the winning 16 tracks. The mostly religious tunes included titles like "Canticle of the Sun," "They'll Know We Are Christians" and "We Three Kings."

The latter was fourth-grader Alyssa Merola's favorite song.

"It was awesome in there," said Alyssa, whose drawing of singing children and a piano-playing adult was selected as the CD's cover art. She described the studio's "small, soundproof room with microphones so, in a different room, the people could hear us.

"It was really cool," she continued. "It was just really fun being in a studio and actually being able to get recorded. I don't think it will happen again."

Mr. Ascioti said his students didn't seem nervous or scared, but impressed - especially by the studio's grand piano. They also got a kick out of listening to song playbacks in the control room and watching engineers add ambient noise to the tracks.

"They were in awe," the teacher said. "They all sat quietly, taking it in and listening to what they had just done. They were quite enthusiastic about the whole thing."

The CD was officially released at a party last week at St. Jude. Half of the 100 copies produced have already sold as part of a fundraiser for the chorus. Mr. Ascioti wants to use the money to cover transportation costs for more public performances, or maybe even a trip to New York City.