Songwriter Sharyn Ekbergh wrote the songs for this year's Polar Express. Fryeburg Academy music director Brent Lacasce and six students sang the songs at a recording session. by Bart Bachman. photographs by Christine Jacobs

November 2, 1996 Cool News
The music of Bartlett's Sharyn Ekbergh and the voices of Fryeburg Academy students will greet travelers to the North Pole when the Polar Express rolls next month. Ekbergh, of West Side Audio Visual Studio, wrote six songs- five vocals, one instrumental-for The Polar Express. In an exhausting five hour recording session on Wednesday, Fryeburg Academy musical director Brent Lacasce and six of his choral students added their voices to EkberghÕs instrumental arrangements. Ekbergh was delighted with the result.

"As a songwriter, this is a big step just hearing these things done so well," Ekbergh said. "The kids were great to work with. They were a lot of fun, and extremely professional."

LaCasce chose Patrick Bryant, Jared Ambrose, Leslie Welchm Penny Smith, Betsy Kane and Angela Bourque for the project. Ekbergh gave LaCasce an idea of the types of voices she wanted and these students fit the order. Combined with the orchestral sounds produced electronically by Ekbergh, the sound is full and uplifteing and unmistakably Christmas.

"We don't tend to think that local artists can be that good," Ekbergh said. "But there is a lot of talent up here."

The Polar Express is a reenactment of the popular Christmas book written by Chris Van Allsburg. Ekbergh, who has also written songs for Story Land and who has also written four musical plays that have been produced by children's theatre groups, had done an instrumental for last year's Polar Express. She was approached by coordinator Cindy Russell about writing more songs for the event.

"These songs were written just for this event, on short notice,"Ekbergh said. "Fortunately I love the idea of Polar music and the story is inspiring. Otherwise it would have been pretty tough."



" Can you hear the bells of Christmas? Do you believe in magic? All aboard, all aboard Everybody come aboard for this train's getting ready to roll rolling al the way to the Pole...." from All Aboard by Sharyn Ekbergh for the Polar Express

The music will be played on the train and at Bear Peak Lodge which is transformed into the North Pole for the event. "The Hot Chocolate Song" is a fun number that will no doubt be a hit with the kids. ("Looks good to the eye, smells so good to the nose; nothing else will warm you so from head to toe, like hot chocolate".)

Other songs written by Ekbergh include "All Aboard," "The Polar City," "Bells of Christmas," and "Polar Lullaby." The lullaby will be played on the ride back to Conway Scenic Railroad from the North Pole "to put all the little kids asleep coming home on the train," Ekbergh said.

Sharyn taalks with Chris Van Allsberg