Penn College Student Produces Charity CD

Published 02.29.2000

Student News

Most college students view their CD collection as indispensable. For Pennsylvania College of Technology student David Vaughan, producing a CD that could benefit others became an indispensable part of his life.

"There was no hiding the idea," the professional musician recalls. "It was in me and I had to get it out."

The result is "Three Miles to Pine Creek," a nine-song, 47-minute CD combining soft piano music with nature sounds from Tioga County. Since being released in December 1998, 800 copies of the CD have been sold raising about $7,500 for the project's beneficiary, the American Cancer Society.

"We've all been touched by cancer in some way," Vaughan, 20, explains. "This is my way of giving something. I can' t really do anything else that would be so effective. It (the CD) is what I can do personally."

The business management student has done a lot. From conceiving the idea to raising funds from area businesses for the $2,500 production fee to coordinating the efforts of 22 other musicians, artists, photographers, and poets who contributed to the project, Vaughan spent an exhausting, yet exhilarating, 18 months working on "Three Miles To Pine Creek" before the CD's release.

"It was my life for a year and a half," chuckles Vaughan, who moved to Wellsboro from Massena, N.Y, when he was seven. "It was the best time I spent on anything ' It was a great feeling when the CDs actually came. I had the company send the CDs to me at work (Kingdom, Inc.). My position at the time was in audio-tech support, so I had many CD players. I just popped the CD in and was able to listen to it all day (along with the customers)!"

Charles Haun, community organization specialist for the American Cancer Society in Bradford, Clinton, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga counties, listened when Vaughan approached the organization with his idea.

"I was really fascinated by David's enthusiasm and his eagerness," Haun explains. "He made a very strong impression. David talked about what he wanted to do and my reaction was, 'Go for it!"'

For Vaughan, the American Cancer Society was an obvious choice for his dream of producing a charity CD. "The idea all along was to do it for an honorable organization," he says. "I did research many and they were all great, but the one that stood out from the rest was the American Cancer Society. They accepted the project with open arms and helped me all the way through."

Originally, Vaughan, who plays the piano and drums professionally while dabbling with the harmonica and guitar, didn't anticipate needing much assistance; he envisioned writing and performing all the music by himself. But when word got out about the project, other talented individuals in Tioga County asked to donate their time and creative juices.

"People came to me saying that they had some music that they would like to share on the CD, and eventually it got turned into nine pieces," smiles Vaughan. "So many people contributed to its success."

Both Vaughan and Haun report that the feedback from purchasers of the CD has been very positive. "It's very soothing and lovely music," praises Haun.

According to Vaughan, the music can be classified as New Age or mood music. "It promotes thought," he stresses. "There is definitely some sort of spiritual tone to it."

The sounds of Tioga County also are evident throughout each selection.

"There is a background of nature sounds with every single one of the pieces," notes Vaughan, who wrote and composed two of the songs on the CD. "We have many beautiful locations (in Tioga County). When I was younger, I remember walking down what we call the 'turkey path' and hearing someone play a guitar in the woods. I couldn't see this person, but I could hear his music along with bird sounds and the sound of the wind through the trees. It was just so beautiful. I remember thinking how nice it would have been to record that. When we came up with the idea for the CD, we thought about recording these (nature) sounds and incorporating them with the music."

Haun believes the nature sounds, which include a canoe trip down Pine Creek and the rumblings of a thunderstorm, "reflect the beauty" of Tioga County. "It's been great for the community," he enthuses. "People are proud... This was an opportunity to involve a sector of the community that wasn't currently associated with the American Cancer

Society in Tioga County. David's project provided an outlet for these creative people to do something good for the community and themselves."

Seventy-five percent of the money raised by the CD is earmarked to the Tioga County chapter of the American Cancer Society for patient services, educational programs, and support groups. Following American Cancer Society policy, Haun says 25 percentof all proceeds are earmarked for cancer research at the national level.

Vaughan, who on weekends performs with his father in a two-person musical group called A Touch of Jazz and also contributes to a light jazz group named The Second Fret Quintet, believes the CD can raise more money. "We've only marketed it in a very small area (Tioga County), and we've done very well there over the year," he cites. "I think now it's time to start thinking statewide ' I guarantee that if you let me in a room with somebody, anybody, for 10 minutes with the CD, I could sell it to them just by letting them listen to it and by telling them what it's for. I think if we found some way to do that on a broader scale, we could end up selling a lot more."

Haun indicates the American Cancer Society is considering marketing the CD outside the immediate area. "Garry* Pincock (chief executive officer for the Pennsylvania Division of the American Cancer Society) is so excited about it that he's personally purchased 80 copies and distributed the CD to board members and other people (throughout the state) that he wants to know about it," reveals Haun.

By the time distribution options for "Three Miles to Pine Creek" are fully explored, Vaughan, coupling his musical skills with his business acumen acquired through the CD project and class work at Penn College, plans to have another idea to share.

"Within the next year, I hope to begin work on a second musical project that will benefit the American Cancer Society," reports Vaughan, who was named Volunteer of the Year by the Tioga County Unit of the American Cancer Society in September 1999. "I would like to do more projects like 'Three Miles to Pine Creek'. I feel better about communicating through music than person-to-person or any other way."

And with his musical effort, Vaughan has communicated how he feels about each person affected by cancer in a very clear, moving way.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Individuals interested in purchasing "Three Miles to Pine Creek" should call the American Cancer Society's Williamsport, PA office at 570-326-4149. Cost is $15 for one CD and $10 for each additional CD purchased. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.