Former Shaler Area music teacher puts out children’s CD
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | 6:01 AM
As a child, Cynthia Dougherty dreamed that one day she would be just like children’s puppeteer Shari Lewis or have a career writing for Sesame Street.
She later fell in love with music, but never lost her passion for writing and entertaining children.
After retiring from her role as an elementary music teacher in the Shaler Area School District in 2016, she found a way to marry the two skills by writing and creating a children’s CD with the help of her nephew.
“It’s finally all that I’ve ever wanted to do, all in one package,” said Dougherty, 44, of Collier Township.
Dougherty and nephew David Holderbaum, 18, of Carnegie, who as a children’s performing duo go by the name High Brow Affair, will release their first CD Nov. 3.
A release party for “A High Brow Affair” will be held at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie from 1 to 5 p.m.
The event is open to the public and will include themed ice cream stations patterned after songs on the CD, a crafting area and musical performances.
The idea for the CD came to Doughtery in the last two years.
After retiring, she felt the need to do something with her time. So, she picked up the ukulele and started writing. She wrote songs to society, in hopes of spreading positivity. Before she knew it, she had a collection of 10 tunes.
She posted them on Facebook for friends and family to listen. They responded that they were loving the themes and listening over and over again to the music with their children.
Dougherty joined the Children’s Music Network, an international group of children’s musicians, teachers and producers. After attending their conference, where she felt welcome, she decided to put her music out there.
Over the summer, she asked Holderbaum to be her “partner in crime.” A 2019 Carlynton graduate, Holderbaum had fallen in love with performing in musicals and dreams of someday taking the stage as a singer.
He co-wrote one song for the CD and performs in several.
“When I’m performing, I feel at home in a sense,” he said. “This is what I should be doing. This is what makes me happy.”
For Dougherty, music is her avenue to connect with people.
The 11 songs on the CD are each unique. They range from a hoedown, to classical and alternative rock, to a cartoon style.
“Each song is so unique that when you hear it you’re going to be like, ‘What is going on?’” Dougherty said. “With every track, they’re going to be like, ‘Wow! That was different.’”
The overriding theme of the CD is “choosing love all the time,” Dougherty said.
While one song reminds people to say “Thank you,” the CD also has songs that are all about fun, like “The Nonsense Song.”
The CD is the first step for the performing duo. They hope to someday perform in schools and at children’s birthday parties.
They already have a performance scheduled at an elementary school in Shaler Area School District, where Dougherty’s husband, Chad, teaches music.
As for where this will all take them, they don’t know yet. They’re just going to follow the music.
Registration for the CD release event is encouraged. To register, visit: https://highbrowaffair.bpt.me.