Randy Cormier, left, and Brian Benlien perform 'Christmas in Heaven' at the Berkshire Museum on Sunday. They are donating any proceeds from the song to theSandy Hook victims' families.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 4,500 have liked Randy Cormier's "Christmas in Heaven" on YouTube. He's hoping that will translate into sales to help the families affected by the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., last week.
The local musician was picking up his 6-year-old from kindergarten on Friday when he heard the news about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"I spoke with my girlfriend at work and she was crying," he said on Tuesday. "I didn't believe it at first. ... I was heartbroken like the rest of the world."
He took his son home and was staring at the Christmas tree and the presents underneath it. He was trying, he said, to imagine what those families in Newtown were going through, and how he would feel if it had happened here. He found he could do it through his music.
"You think what are these people feeling right now and you feel it," said the frontman for local country rock band Whiskey City Band. The chorus and tune had been mulling in his head for awhile; it came together in the glow of the tree's lights.
Cormier spilled his feelings into "Christmas in Heaven" that same day and posted it to YouTube in dedication to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Now the original composition is being picked up as an anthem for the loss and grief suffered at the school where 20 first-graders were gunned down and six of its staff and faculty were killed trying to protect them.
"It's starting to go viral," the singer/songwriter said. "It's gotten a lot of hits on YouTube and on Facebook — it's being shared by hundreds of people."
Cormier is dedicating any proceeds from the song to a memorial fund being set up for the Connecticut families. The goal is to raise $10,000. Patrick Muraca, president of Nuclea Biotechnologies where Cormier works, has pledged to match funds raised up to $5,000.
The song can be downloaded at CDBaby and iTunes and Cormier and Benlien have also recorded a CD that should be available soon. In Touch Printing of Pittsfield is doing the production at cost and has donated 50 for free distribution to the families in Connecticut.
"I've had several calls from people in Newtown to have me sing it at a tribute concert," Cormier said. "I'm standing by to helping in anyway with that ... I told them I'd be supportive.
"We're hoping to help the people heal by hearing it and help them with their memorial fund."
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