Former Richland College student Paige Lehmann has always loved making heartfelt music and helping her local community. Recently, she had an idea to combine these two passions, and the resulting project will be her first music album, “Restore the Joy!”, a project that will include the help and work of Mesquite-area high school students to give them real-world experience and a scholarship for future academic endeavors.
“I hope to give the students opportunities they can’t even imagine,” said Lehmann. “I hope they walk away from ‘Restore the Joy!’ with new friends, opportunities and a sense of joyful accomplishment in their lives. I hope the music itself opens them up to new possibilities.”
To make her idea a reality, Lehmann launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise necessary funds. Kickstarter is an online platform that helps artists, musicians and other creators find resources and support necessary to make their ideas a reality by allowing donors to provide financial backing to projects such as Lehmann’s album.
This timed Kickstarter campaign has a goal of raising $7,040 by 5:57 a.m. Oct. 13. The money raised will go to producing, recording, mixing, mastering, packaging and printing the album, as well as copywriting each song, renting the Mesquite Arts Center for a show, marketing and photography. There will also be incentives given out for different pledge amounts, including digital downloads of the completed album, tickets to a planned performance of “Restore the Joy!” at the Mesquite Arts Center next March, one-hour virtual songwriting sessions and more. If the campaign does not reach its financial goal, the funds will be returned to the original donors.
“Restore the Joy!” will be a collection of instrumental and lyrical songs written in honor of Lehmann’s childhood. The concept for the album came from Lehmann’s memories of spending time with her grandfather, Thomas “Papaw” Lehmann. After he passed away, Lehmann discovered that he wrote hymns during his life. One of these was called “Restore the Joy,” which inspired Lehmann to create an entire album about joy as a tribute to him.
“I always describe the sound as Winnie the Pooh-meets-Mozart,” said Lehmann. “I use real memories from my childhood, like when I saved a Skittle in my hand all day in Kindergarten because I knew Papaw was coming to pick me up. I ended up with a sweaty green Skittle in my left hand and a new one in my right. I was surprised to find out Papaw wanted the non-sweaty red Skittle even though his favorite flavor was lime. Some of my sweetest memories are shared with him, and it is my greatest pleasure to turn those memories into stories and sound.”
Lehmann is working with Mitch Mitchell, local producer and owner of Piano Note 1 Productions in Mesquite, to create this album. The duo chose three students to help with the album: Haniston Halloway and Lilia Mease from Dr. John Horn High School in Mesquite, and Jonvieve Pelino from North Mesquite High School, who will be playing violin and cello for the album. In addition to giving these students experience producing an album, each one will also receive a $1,000 scholarship for future academic endeavors. The scholarship money was donated by Mesquite Chiropractic and Injury, the Mesquite Arts Council, Lehmann, Mitchell and individuals in the community in support of the project.
“During our first rehearsal, I knew this album would be unforgettable,” said Lehmann. “It’s a beautiful tribute to childhood, and these young ladies are already doing an incredible job bringing the sound to life. Everyone is excited about seeing the show and music come together. And, of course, these ladies are very excited for their well-deserved scholarships. Showing these young ladies that anything, literally anything, is possible is the best lesson I can give. Being featured on a full album before leaving high school is a pretty phenomenal item on your portfolio. One student has mentioned that this project will change her life for the better. I know it will for Mitch and me too; it already has!”
Lehmann is a composer who makes music inspired from the spirit of childhood joy. Her musical themes were developed while working as an au pair in Paris, France, and she wants to bring the joy she felt abroad to everyone around her. She attended Richland College in 2011 and transferred to Texas Tech University a year later. “Dr. Sherry Dean-Rovelo from Richland College was a huge influence in my life,” said Lehmann. “She exposed me to French culture and the possibility of working abroad. I always had an admiration for her humanitarian drive and ability to see a project through to fruition. She helped me see big picture ideas. I don’t know if I would have discovered my personal idea palette as quickly as I did without her signature ‘Keep Thinking and Probing’ line when signing off an email. I believed her and did it!”
Lehmann currently works as a marketing coordinator for her parents’ chiropractic business, Mesquite Chiropractic and Injury, and runs her own radio show, “Millennials in the Know,” on local radio station 88.5 KEOM. Lehmann paid 50 percent of the recording bill to help fund the project. For more information about Lehmann, visit paigesongs.com.
In addition to owning Piano Note 1 Productions, Mitchell is involved with the Mesquite community through serving as the head sound technician at the Mesquite Arts Center and being an active member of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce. He has 10 years of production experience and has recorded musical styles from hip-hop to Cumbia. Mitchell purchased new recording equipment and software to help bring this project to a professional level. “I don’t know if there is another producer on this planet who has taken on a project like this one,” said Lehmann. “His dedication to integrity, transparency and connection is unlike anyone I’ve met.”
“I hope to give honor to my Papaw and give people a taste of what I experienced as a child with him,” said Lehmann. “He loved me very much and showed me the extraordinary within the ordinary daily items and tasks. This project feels exactly, 100 percent, authentically Paige. Being able to share music about someone I love and opening opportunities for others is my life dream.”
For more information and to donate to the Kickstarter campaign, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/87451242/restore-the-joy?ref=project_link.