Fairfield teen records song to benefit Sandy Hook foundation

Fairfielder Amber Schaper and Ridgefield resident Jason Bangser have recorded a song in memory of the Sandy Hook victims to benefit the foundation Sandy Hook Promise.

Fairfielder Amber Schaper and Ridgefield resident Jason Bangser have recorded a song in memory of the Sandy Hook victims to benefit the foundation Sandy Hook Promise.

Fairfield middle-schooler Amber Schaper was in math class when text messages from anxious parents began suddenly interrupting the classroom. There was a shooting at a Newtown school, and Amber’s school was now in lockdown. Panic struck; she knew close family friend Daniel Barden attended Sandy Hook Elementary, and she worried for his safety.

Daniel was one of the 26 children killed that day.

Two years later, Amber’s shock and grief has evolved into resolution to help prevent further similar tragedies. In addition to fundraising for the What Would Daniel Do (WWDD) Foundation established by Daniel’s family, Amber and band mate Jason Bangser have written and produced “Counting on You.” All proceeds from sales of the song will be donated directly to Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit set up by relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.

“You never think that it’s going to happen to you, not in a million years,” Amber said, ”but then it does. I wanted to get my feelings out on paper and transform them into something I can do best: music.”

As musicians, the two friend — now high school freshmen — wanted to use their talents to create awareness about mental illness and social isolation. Although the duo are in the band Jam Theory together, Jason lives in Ridgefield, and Amber resides in Fairfield. Neither is old enough to drive, so they collaborated via email and text.  Once they finally got together to play, the song became a reality.  Amber and Jason recorded the song this summer with Lisa Ratner of Traxfast Music in South Salem, N.Y.

Reinforcing the Sandy Hook Promise messages, the song encourages people to reach out to others, make connections, and speak out when they sense trouble.

“Amber and Jason’s song reinforces the message that we can make our communities and nation a safer place by being good bystanders,” said Mark Barden, advocacy director of Sandy Hook Promise, and Daniel’s father.  “We are grateful to them for donating their time and talent to What Would Daniel Do and Sandy Hook Promise, and doing their best to make a difference in honor of our sweet little Daniel.”

Counting on You is available for download at Bandcamp for $1.39. Funds from the sale of the song will be donated directly to Sandy Hook Promise, and additional donations can be made on the link to their website as well.

Promise Day, an initiative of Sandy Hook Promise, states that in four out of five school shootings, the attacker told someone about their plans ahead of time. “No one should ever have to feel the pain of losing someone to senseless violence that could have been prevented,” said Jason.  “Writing ‘Counting on You’ was not just something we wanted to do; it was something we had to do.”

Amber concurs. “I hope our song has a positive effect,” she said. “I want people to realize that kindness matters.”

To download Counting on You, visit http://jamber.bandcamp.com/releases
To learn more about Sandy Hook Promise, visit http://www2.sandyhookpromise.org.
To learn more about Promise Day, visit https://promiseday.org

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