District spokeswoman writes and records Christmas song

Maddie Neigenfind, Features Editor

Lori O’Toole Buselt
Lori O’Toole Buselt spent time recording her original Christmas song. O’Toole Buselt has had a passion for music since she was little.

Ever since she was a little girl, Lori O’Toole Buselt has had a passion for singing.

“When I was little, I thought I sounded like Rainbow Brite,” O’Toole Buselt said. “In high school, I was blessed to be a member of Madrigals and sharpened my skills with private voice lessons. Singing has taken me on some great adventures.”

Over multiple years, O’Toole Buselt progressed her voice and passion for music with the help of Maize music teachers, Doris Prater and Karen Sims.

I thank Mrs. Sims and Mrs. Prater for teaching me so much about the meaning of music, both the notes and the words, and how we can and should appreciate it and weave it into our lives,” she said. “Music truly is the universal language.”

Thanks to music, she soon developed a dream of creating something of her own that would help touch other people. To her, that was a Christmas song.

“There are so many little messages I wove into the lyrics,” O’Toole Buselt said. “When I started to write the song, I was intrigued by the idea of the presence of Christmas instead of the presents of Christmas and explored what that meant to me.”

With a background in journalism and communication, creating a meaningful song wasn’t a difficult task. After writing and revising one of her very own for a few years, O’Toole Buselt was ready to share the piece, “The Presence of Christmas” with her community.

“Two years ago, I approached my friend Bruce Greenlee and asked if he would want to collaborate with me on the song,” she said. “He wrote the absolutely gorgeous piano accompaniment and we performed it that year at our church.”

Although she had shared her work with her church, she still felt as though more people needed to experience her music, so O’Toole Buselt set out to fulfill her dream.

“My husband is my biggest fan and got in touch with Carter Green, a friend of ours who is a producer and engineer and owns his own professional recording studio, Greenjeans Studios in Wellington,” O’Toole Buselt said. “We started talking about making this dream come true for me. I spent a few hours in the studio with him earlier this month. We recorded my vocal tracks, and I watched in awe as he composed music for the song’s string trio (violin, viola, and cello) right on the spot.”

O’Toole Buselt said she left the studio that day with her song officially recorded and a smile on her face and adrenaline rushing through her body.

“It was so much fun and was an exhilarating experience,” she said. “I have performed many times but have never felt like I did when I was singing into that studio microphone.”

For now, you can listen to O’Toole Buselt’s song here or by visiting a Facebook page for Christmas music from around the world but soon, it will be available on; Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music.

“Whether your dream is a song or something else, stay focused on why you love it,”  O’Toole Buselt said. “Find your joy. Share your joy. Find your people who will support you in it. It’s not what’s under the tree, after all, it’s what’s in your heart.”