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Newtown tragedy inspires local musician

When tragedy shook the lives of families in Newtown, Conn. Dec. 14, love poured out around the world. Messages of condolence, prayers and sympathy flooded those who had been touched by the shooting of 27 people, including 20 children.
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Sudbury musician Don Kunto has been busy recording personalized Christmas songs for kids. The local artist was inspired to perform the act of kindness after the Newton, Conn. shootings. Photo supplied by Stacey Lalande.

When tragedy shook the lives of families in Newtown, Conn. Dec. 14, love poured out around the world. Messages of condolence, prayers and sympathy flooded those who had been touched by the shooting of 27 people, including 20 children. 

 

In light of the tragedy, hometown musician Don Kunto couldn't help but think of a song lyric that goes “Why can't people commit random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty?” 

 

His response to the horrific events was to do what he knows best — make music. Since the shootings, Kunto has been busy recording personalized Christmas songs for kids.

 

“I know the songs are for parents to give their kids but I guess it's a gift to both of them,” Kunto said. “It's Christmas time — you're supposed to be welcoming to your fellow man and see the best in folks and not be scared of what might happen to your kids if you let them into the world. 

 

“In reality it's a very small gesture — just a week of coffee driven nights recording the songs properly and writing some simple cute lyrics for me — but I hope it helped a bit to ease a few minds.”

 

Kunto, who is a staple on nearly every stage in the city and a key player on countless recording projects, has rewritten verses in songs like Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells and Winter Wonderland using the names of children, as well as a few details about them, to make a song just for them. Within days of posting his offer, Kunto said the response to his offer was “a bit bigger” than expected.   

 

“I had over a hundred and fifty requests from folks who really were genuinely appreciative of the idea,” Kunto said. “I had asked that if anyone felt the urge to do something in return that they donate to the Sudbury Food Bank and a lot of people did.  It was great to see and I thank every one of them.”

 

While he would like to keep taking orders, Kunto said he is already “scrambling” to get all the requests out in time. 

 

“A few days to record, bounce and deliver over 150 unique songs is a bit of an undertaking,” he said. It's such a big project, in fact, that he likely would have called it “impossible” when he began. 

 

“Strangely if someone had come to one of the studios I work at and asked me if I could do the same thing in the same amount of time for money, I'd tell them it was either impossible or at the very least totally crazy,” Kunto said. 

 

Those who hoping to get their hands on a personalized track for Christmas may not have the chance this year, but should be on the lookout for Kunto in 2013. 

 

“It's been such a positive fun experience that I do plan to make this a new Holiday tradition, so hunt me down next year,” he said.



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