This is a charity CD and project that we started in 2001 to help raise money for cancer research. As of the fall of 2008, we've raised nearly $500,000 for cancer research during the holidays the last seven years by soliciting donations in exchange for our CD, as well as organizing benefit concerts.
Here’s our story:
I have always loved Christmas music and I love my friends Cody, Lorne and Corrina and their talents. Back in 1997, I proposed the idea of recording a Christmas album just for the fun of it. It would be a way to preserve their talents and to share it with family and friends. Lorne and Corrina made the suggestion that we consider having Cody do the recording engineering. Cody had been dabbling around with a six-track tape recorder, and Lorne had been impressed with the overall quality. The idea was to upgrade Cody's equipment and do most of the recording in his garage studio. Around Thanksgiving 1998, we went shopping at CA House Music in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Over the years, we've repeated our shopping trip to add new equipment and upgrade technology. In 2001 we moved up to recording straight to a Mac, all digital using Emagic's Logic Audio software and plugins. This is the same DAW setup that Dave Clo has in his studio in Nashville. This works out great for collaborating on projects as we can just e-mail music files to each other.
Cody built an isolation booth for vocals and acoustic guitar. The first song completed was "Christmas Letter." Lorne played guitar and Cody did the rest. I was really impressed. I got even more excited about the possibilities of the types of music and quality we could produce.
At the beginning of 2000, we were faced with a challenge that threatened the life of our best friend and ultimately shaped this project into what it became. Lorne was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer in February. A yearlong battle ensued. After six months of chemotherapy, followed with radiation treatments, it looked like Lorne would be out of the woods in November. But, more complications developed that left Lorne's six-foot frame at 120 lbs. Water around his heart and right lung were a result of excessive radiation. Following treatment, he was released from the hospital to go it on his own. I'll never forget sitting at the Bob Evans in St. Clairsville, the last weekend in April 2001. Dave Clo was visiting from Nashville, and the three of us were watching Lorne slowly stuff down a huge breakfast. After more than a year of having his appetite diminished, this was a memorable occasion. Three months later, he had gained 50 lbs., and looked and acted more like the old Lorne.
From the very beginning of Lorne's battle, his wife Corrina never stopped believing the Lord would provide. The church and community pulled together with prayers, fundraisers and food. They watched the kids when needed, held a fundraiser at the Brightwood Golf Center Putt-Putt course, and hosted a spaghetti dinner from the Junior-Senior Youth Group at Park Christian Church in Dennison, Ohio. This helped raise money to assist with the bills while Lorne was unable to work full time. Corrina continued to pray that this experience would not be wasted and would one day be able to help others going through similar circumstances.
Lorne also received support in another form. Cody Romshak, Jeff Beadle, Kelly Clark, Curt Stoyanovich, Ronny Colbertson, Dan Kidd, Chuck Merkle and Keith Lucas all shaved their heads prior to Lorne's chemo treatments. Chuck, Jeff, Dan and Keith had Promise Keepers ball caps made with "Lorne's Team" printed on the back. The hats were provided for moral support. In November 2000, the doctor told Lorne the cancer was in remission and he could resume eating dairy products. Corrina suggested he incorporate them back in his diet slowly. That evening they went to dinner and Lorne had a milkshake, cheese sticks, cheeseburger and cheesecake. He said the only side effect after that meal was extreme joy.
On Labor Day weekend 2001, Lorne, Cody and I headed down to Dave Clo's home studio called "Camp David" in Nashville to record "Santa Claus is Hangin' Round," "Run Run Rudolph," and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." We spent four, 12-14 hour days in the studio and had a blast... just like old times... Aereon was back together in the recording studio. These are three of my favorite songs on the CD. They all have a more "live" feel to them. We recorded the bulk of the music as one take and later edited and added as necessary. One astonishing factor of this trip was that we got Cody out of Ohio, let alone Piedmont. This was his first trip to Nashville, and other than being homesick, I think there was a part of him that wanted to stay. (Probably to help organize Dave's cluttered studio.)?
Written by Mark Puskarich
“A Christmas To Cure Cancer 4 ”This is our third CD released in November of 2008 and here’s an update on our progress:
Here we are, nearing the 10-year anniversary of purchasing equipment to begin recording our Christmas CD. Has it been that long? Sometimes it sure feels like it. J This is our fourth installment of A Christmas To Cure Cancer series and ninth charity CD overall. Lorne is nearing his eight-year anniversary of being cancer free. Praise The Lord! He continues to tour with Mike Albert and The Big ‘E’ Band, performing over 60 shows a year.
We are enjoying the wonderful recording studio Cody built in Cadiz, Ohio. We named it Tony’s Treasures, after my father and all his collections that once filled the building at the time of his passing over 12 years ago. The sound we are able to capture keeps getting better with time and experience. It’s my favorite place to track as I know I can get great sonic content which is easy to mix.
As with every CD I’ve produced, Cody Romshak and Dave Clo play a major role in helping me not only get the project completed, but helping bring the quality up another level or two. I can’t thank both of you enough for all your help. This CD is the product of 55 artists from across the country all lending their talents to help the cause. Once again, Dave Clo helps bring some incredible talent from Nashville with the likes of Shane McConnell, Glen Kimberlin, Jeromy Rowe, John Catchings and our staple keyboardist Chris “bleeding thumbs” Dauphin who has appeared on all four A Christmas To Cure Cancer CDs.
There’s the “Cure Cancer Band” that invest many hours and trips to the studio for this project: Penny and Dan Allison, Lorne, Corrina and Sam VanFossen, Mitch Fox, and of course, Cody Romshak. Mike Albert and the Big ‘E’ Band always play a major role, and many hours are dedicated by Mike Albert, Mitch Fox, Jeff Mattevi, Jan Roll, Lorne VanFossen, Mary Sorensen and Sandy Longshore.
I also want to pay thanks to Sean Carney, Sean Ferguson, Andrew Roth, Roger Hoard, Lauri Tucker, Jennifer Shaw and Tim Watkins. And, a very special thanks to Ray Walker and the Jordanaires for making their track “The Christmas Song” available to us.
In addition to A Christmas To Cure Cancer projects, we are partnered in Sean Carney’s Blues For A Cure and the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer. Cancer research and treatments continue to increase the changes of survival when discovered early. It’s this continued progress that motivates us to work as hard as we can to help speed the discovery of a cure.
A very special thanks to the guys at Central City Recording: Andrew Dodson, Ben Miller and Max Lewis for all your tracking and flexibility with scheduling the artists. And always, thanks to Cody Romshak and Dave Clo without whom I’d never be able to pull this off. To my sister Lisa for proofing everything on a minute’s notice and catching all the small things. Andrew Schall for you beautiful designs and artwork. Mark Frizzel and Dave Marsh of West-Camp Press for making my small projects a big importance to your facility. Laura Strickland for creating our new A Christmas To Cure Cancer logos. To my very good friend and partner in the charity, Julie Smolenski, who has put in hundreds of hours helping to grow the charity this year. And, thanks so much to everyone for supporting our cause. We all work so very hard to help make an impact on cancer research.
“For all my efforts in producing this CD, I dedicate it to Heather Pick. She is an amazing person on an incredible journey.” – Mark Puskarich