ANNA HOROSCHAK, 17, of Stamford, Conn., recently did a tour of West Virginia with her CD, "Welcome Home Jessica." Horoschak sings the title song and wrote it with help from Jefferson native Suzanne M. Buckley. Buckley and her husband, Fred A. Porter, produced the album, which is sold online at www.welcomehomejessica song.com. The album contains music by other artists represented by Buckley's agency and recorded on their label, Timberwolfe Records.
By CARL E. FEATHER
A Jefferson native and her husband have produced a CD of songs to heal America in the wake of 9-11 and the resulting wars.
"Welcome Home Jessica" is the title song of the album, which features Anna Horoschak, a 17-year-old from Stamford, Conn., singing the title song. Also on the album is music by David Seering and Jason Wilson, artists managed by Suzanne M. Buckley and her husband Fred A. Porter.
Buckley graduated from Jefferson High School in 1961. Her pursuit of a career in music took her to Cleveland and New York after high school. Her work has included the house band of the New York Hilton and a featured soloist with the U.S. Navy Band. She lives in South Nyack, N.Y.
The title song was composed after Anna heard the good news about Lynch's rescue.
"I was, from 9-11 to the war in Iraq, very distraught," she said in a telephone interview. "I was walking around in our garden and the song just came into my head. It was "Welcome Back Jessica to West Virginia. It kept repeating over and over."
Anna told Suzanne about the song, and, over the next two weeks, they developed the verses and recorded it. "It was already there, but the fine-tuning of the song took about 14 hours in a two-week period," she said.
Both of them realized that more songs would be needed to produce a marketable CD, so Suzanne called upon two other artists she represents to contribute songs to the album.
"It is a very sad time we live in right now, and I felt we needed to give the public an album rather than just one song," Anna said.
Some of the other songs on the album are "He's My Brother," "The Awakening," "Healing," "New Beginning" and "Peace in Our Time."
Suzanne and her husband financed the production of 5,000 CDs. She said if they sell 1,500 of them, they will break even.
To promote the CD, the producers and Anna took to the road in Lynch's home state earlier this month. Their one-week promotion blitz took them from Weirton in the northern panhandle, through Parkersburg and Jessica's hometown of Palestine, and on to Beckley and White Sulphur Springs. Suzanne said they gave out about 300 CDs to radio stations, newspapers and store managers. They also consigned about 60 CDs at stores.
The highlight of the tour was meeting Jessica Lynch's parents. Anna said they pulled into a convenience store in Jessica's hometown and showed the CD to an employee, who told them how to get to the Lynch house.
"Her parents were working on the house when we got there," Anna says. After getting over her fear of the Lynch family dog, Cody, Anna met the couple and handed them a CD.
"I was crying when I met them. It was a very happy moment for me," she said. "That CD from me to them was a warm gesture."
They spent only five minutes with the parents and did not capitalize on the meeting by taking photographs. Jessica's homecoming was still two days away, so Anna did not get to meet America's sweetheart hero and does not know if she's listened to the song.
"I would love to sing it to her live," Anna said.
Anna wants to have a career in music, but if that does not work out, her 4.1 grade point average will open doors for her in other pursuits, probably medicine, she said.
"My dream, since I have been a little girl, has been to sing and dance," she said.
Purchasing information for the CD appears at the top of this page.