Friday, January 30, 2009

Privately Produced Song on CD Proves Inspiration Works

story and exclusive photos by LEO E. LAURENCE

copyright © 2009 by Leo E. Laurence • All rights reserved

The inspiration for a successful song is supremely important, and the inspiration for the new CD, “Shine Your Light on Me,” is the cradle of arts in San Diego: the School of Creative & Performing Arts (SCPA) in the South Bay.

While patrons of the arts can go to the expensive Civic Theatre, adjacent to City Hall, they will find equally inspired and professional music, theatre and the visual arts at the incredible SCPA for lots less expense during our deep recession.

SCPA’s superior students recently produced a professional-quality performance of The King and I that strongly echoed Yul Brynner’s powerful performances.

The King & I was followed in January with the SCPA’s three-day Winter Music Concert. It featured remarkable performances from the SCPA’s Chamber Strings to a Symphony Orchestra to their wildly popular Jazz Band.

It’s difficult for a talented teenager to get into the SCPA. They have to audition for enrollment.

And the SCPA is an incredibly diverse campus. Students speak 17 different languages. “Some students have difficulty understanding History Class,” said Choir Director R. C. Haus. SCPA has 8 different choirs.

“But, when they are performing music, it’s a universal language and they blossom. Shy kids in other classes become outgoing and productive in music classes.”

“Cat” Produces a CD Song

The artistic environment of the SCPA campus, staff and students provided the inspiration for one of its staffers to write and privately produce the soft, sensitive song, “Shine Your Light on Me,” on a CD.

While her name, “Cat,” is unusual; so is her talent and so is the SCPA inspiration for her new CD.

“It has always been a dream of mine to professionally record a song,” said Cat in an e-mail inter-view.

“I wrote the original version of ‘Shine Your Light on Me’ in August of 2007.

The song was inspired by a quote of singer/songwriter Bo Bice (American Idol runner-up, 2008): ‘Even in a place that seems so familiar, things can be clouded. So surround yourself with people that will help you through those blurry days and dark nights . . . because you can only be a light to others if you allow others to shine on you.’”

Eager to produce her song, “Shine Your Light on Me,” Cat went to SCPA’s Choral Director R. C. Haus. He had written music for songs, but not the lyrics. Cat had the lyrics, but not the music.

As R.C.’s music was gradually molded to Cat’s lyrics, many changes were made to the song, “some switching things around and editing,” as Cat put it.

She went to a local recording studio, Digital Productions, in Ocean Beach. Her seven-year old daughter, Crystalinda, recorded an introduction and sang in the background chorus.

The pressing for the CD’s was done in the East, and delivered in early January.

“I will be giving 10 percent of the profits to the SCPA’s Choral Department; since R.C. came up with the music, and he’s the choral director.

“Both R.C. and I care a lot about the (SCPA) kids, and they always need extra money for trips and such,” Cat explained.

“The rest of the (profit from the CD) is going towards paying off my student loans. I’m attending National University for my master’s in school counseling and will graduate this year.”


Cat has a sweet, soft voice that fits the theme of her song, Shine Your Light on Me.

But she is accompanied with a piano that almost overshadows her singing. The accompanying pi-ano is hard and loud, as if played in anger.

That harsh background piano is in sharp contrast to Cat’s soft, sensitive singing.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand the words Cat is singing, because the accompanying piano is so loud and harsh.

A professionally produced song on CD typically goes through many recording sessions until just the right effect is produced, to bring out the strengths of the song.

The artwork on the face of the CD needs improving. The text is in a faint script that is so small that it’s difficult to read.

The song can be downloaded for 99 cents at, or by e-mail to the artist at

Photo Captions (top to bottom):

1.“Cat” Ortiz-White and her daughter, Crystalinda, are shown at the School of Creative and Per-forming Arts. Photo by Leo E. Laurence

2. An exclusive, behind-the-scenes photo of the Concert Choir rehearsing at the School of Creative and Performing Arts. By Leo E. Laurence

3. A concert violinist rehearses back stage at the School of Creative and Performing Arts. Exclusive Photo by Leo E. Laurence

4. Starring pianist Joseph Rauch performs Beethoven's Sonata in C, Movement II, at the School of Creative and Performing Arts. Exclusive Photo by Leo E. Laurence