Alumni couple sings from the heart to help children worldwide

November 09, 2010

In the summer of 2009, Chris Badeker ’07 and Jenna Layman ’06 went on week-long trips to Jamaica and Haiti – and they returned to their lives in Carroll County very different people. Neither had ever experienced such extreme poverty. Individually they knew they had to do something to help. But what?

“We’ve been given these musical, creative gifts,” Layman, a first-grade teacher at Carrolltowne Elementary in Sykesville, says. “Maybe we can do something with these gifts that creates change for other people.”

Badeker and Layman had sung and played piano and ukulele together back in their student days at McDaniel. The first time was at a Milk and Cookies night during Alcohol Awareness Week, and then they played for fun as often as their schedules allowed.

After college they drifted apart, until those fateful trips to the Caribbean. United in a mission to make a difference in the lives of people less fortunate than they are, Badeker and Layman decided to record a CD and send the proceeds from sales to Compassion International, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the spiritual, physical, economic and social needs of children.

“It felt like the right thing to do,” says Badeker, who works in the College’s post office. “Besides, $10 to us is dispensable. Ten dollars is huge to people in the places we visited.”

Still, thinking about it and actually doing it are two different things. They pooled their money and friends to compose and record the album, “How the Fall Makes You Feel.” On it are seven songs by Badeker and four songs by Layman, with musician friends backing them on guitar, bass, drums, sax, trumpet, cello and tambourine. Friend Alicia Ciatto ’09 designed the cover.

Through the Web site, which provides a platform for artists to raise money for creative projects, supporters donated $1,260 so Badeker and Layman could produce 1,000 copies of the album.

Now, the task at hand is to sell them – each and every one. That would send $10,000 to help children and fight poverty in many different countries through Compassion International. They are appearing in coffeehouses and other venues to try to rally support for their project and, of course, to sell CDs.

“Our message is simple – we’re normal people who saw a need and decided to do something about it. You’re the same; you can do something, too,” Layman says.

“You can address needs doing something you love,” Badeker says.

So far, they’ve sold about 120 albums. There are about 880 left – available and may be previewed at: