Joel Zmuda lends smooth vocals to ‘Holiday Wishes 3’ CD trackWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
During a summer taping of a New Year’s Eve special, holiday inspiration struck.
Michael S. Miller, Toledo Free Press editor in chief and executive producer of the Make-A-Wish Foundation benefit CD “Holiday Wishes 3: If You Believe,” was serving as emcee for a Johnny Knorr Orchestra television special when he first heard Joel Zmuda sing.
“He sang a Bobby Darin song, and even though it was summer, all I could think about was asking him to record Darin’s ‘Christmas Auld Lang Syne’ for the CD,” Miller said. “His voice and phrasing were perfect for the song. I caught up with him as the band was clearing the stage and asked.”
Singer and musician Zmuda had never heard the song before Miller asked him to sing it for the CD.
“The version he asked me to take a look at was Bobby Darin’s with the symphony orchestra and choir,” Zmuda said. “I decided I would try that with my own style. I wrote an arrangement. … I performed it and produced it and did all the work on it and it’s all me.”
Zmuda, a big-band singer, created two versions of the song, trying to get as close as possible to the original recording. It took a couple of weeks in the studio to get just the right sound, he said.
“I always wonder what people think [of the recording] because you need a sounding board,” said Zmuda, who asked his friends to listen to the finished product. “They were shocked that I was doing that. They thought it turned out really great.”
Zmuda, who sings for 17-piece big bands, said he hopes his talents on the CD will bring people together.
“It’s all about family,” he said. “We’re doing this as a way for family and the community to join in together. It just seems really positive and brings everyone together.”
“Christmas Auld Lang Syne” is an emotional song that should resonate and connect with listeners and help them through good and bad times, Zmuda said.
“Hopefully [listeners] can find the heart of it all, and it helps them through whatever times they have,” he said.
Zmuda said he has a smooth voice and calls himself the “Michael Bublé, Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr.” of the local area, where he sings with the Monroe Big Band and others. He learned to play the keyboards before preschool and was playing drums by age 10. Later, he joined several bands.
“I’ve played in a number of groups around town since the ’80s,” the automotive engineer said. “I have a smoother sounding voice and learned to adapt how I sing into that style of [big-band] music. I do like jazz, too.”
Zmuda said he believes everyone has talents and abilities, and he tries to use his to promote music. He is also involved in a Toledo School for the Arts fundraiser.
“It’s very humbling to use your talents to help someone,” he said.
The CD is available at several locations at Levis Commons and the gift shop at ProMedica Flower Hospital.
Tags: Auld Lang Syne, Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr., Joel Zmuda, Johnny Knorr Orchestra, Levis Commons, Make-A-Wish Foundation benefit CD, Michael Buble, New Year's Eve, ProMedica Flower Hospital, Toledo School for the Arts