By Amanda McGregor
SALEM — As part of the budding music program at the Plummer Home for Boys, the residents have produced a holiday CD for the second year in a row.
The CD has five songs, including holiday music and a song called "On the Earth," written by the staff and kids about what you would do if it were your last day on Earth.
"The music program is still new, but it's really thriving," said James Lister, executive director of the Plummer Home for Boys, which is a group home in Salem for boys ages 12 to 18 who have a history of abuse and neglect and, in some cases, behavioral issues.
Along with music director Aaron Katz, the residents produced, performed, arranged, mixed and recorded the CD, which includes a version of "Deck the Halls" and "Light One Candle."
Twelve of the residents were involved in writing "On the Earth," according to Development Director Nicole McLaughlin.
The boys are also engaged in a monthslong production contest that includes writing, recording, mixing and arranging music.
"When kids are in the music room, the immediate stressors of the day can fall into the background," Katz said. "Creating and playing music allows them to focus on something personal and that they have control over."
Lister said the boys take music class every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.
"Through music, they are learning to listen to, rely on and trust themselves and others," Katz said, "a totally new experience for most of them. This can be transformative."