LITTLETON -- The Firehouse Band is all about friendship, good music, helping people, concerts and celebration. The band will combine all five at a free concert and CD release party on Friday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. at First Church Unitarian, 19 Foster St., their home base.
The songs on the CD were picked from the band's repertoire, hence its name, "The Firehouse Band Christmas Music Collection." The band often provides music for the church's annual Christmas Pageant when the children act out the famous story.
"Each song tells a piece of the Christmas story," said Sara Weeks, lead vocalist of the four-member band, who is married to bass player Charlie Weeks. They still live at the Main Street location where Charlie grew up, and met Eric Semple at Acton-Boxboro High School.
"We learned to play guitar in that garage," said Semple, pointing across the driveway to the Weeks family home, near Robbins Brook on Main Street. Semple plays a range of stringed instruments, favoring acoustic guitar. The fourth band member, acoustic guitarist and vocalist Carolyn Hotchkiss, hails from Chicago and lives in Littleton. Sara Weeks is a Littleton native and graduate of Littleton High School.
Since the band came together in 1994, it has played benefit concerts for a wide variety of causes and has performed at First Church Unitarian. The group seeks tunes that fit their instrumentation, style and vocal range. Sara Weeks describes their genre as "American contemporary folk." Charlie Weeks quickly added, "With a dash of country."
That's about what to expect on the CD. "Everyone can find something that resonates. They're beautiful songs," said Sara Weeks.
"Hopefully we've done them justice," quipped Hotchkiss, always quick with a one-liner on stage and during the informal interview after the band's weekly Wednesday night practices in the Weeks's living room.
The band hopes the free concert (45 minutes of music starting at 7:30 p.m.) and party to celebrate the CD release on Nov. 30 will bring the community together at the Unitarian church, and provide a keepsake collection.
"When you do a regular CD, someone buys it and listens to once or twice, then it gathers dust," said Semple. "A Christmas album gets brought out every year and is listened to over and over."
Church members have pitched in to the effort to create the CD cover, plan the party and get the word out. Every aspect of the CD required thought and teamwork. "There was a lot of collaboration on that cover," said Hotchkiss.
The band started working on the album in February, vetting songs and searching for the right ones. "We had six right away, and then got stuck," said Semple.
The band donated the cost of producing the CD, calling it "our gift" to the community. They hope fans will pay the gift forward and spend $15 for a CD or two. "It's an excellent Christmas present for all your relations," said Hotchkiss.