Photo: Amy Peters plays a game with the kids at Brightest Stars Preschool in Sugar Grove which is owned by her and her husband, Bill. Besides owning and working the preschool, Amy has just had her first CD of songs produced.
Photo by John DiDonna
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Brightest Stars Preschool owner Amy Peters, an accomplished vocalist and instrumentalist, decided some time ago that she wanted to mix her favorite hobby—music—with her business life. As a result, Peters finished recording her CD “Come and Swim with Me” last December, and made it available for purchase at the preschool and www.cdbaby.com.
“When I am singing with groups of children, I make the songs as interactional as I can. It’s fine to have concert-style songs, but little ones really want to get into the songs and be a part of them,” she said.
According to Peters’ website, www.brighteststarsmusic.com, “Come and Swim with Me” is “full of fun and exciting new music for children ages 2 to 10, and will have your child singing, interacting and learning.”
Peters said she is especially fond of the album’s title track, but enjoys the other tunes on the recording.
“Each song has special meaning to me, but another that stands out is called ‘Sammy the Zebra.’ My son Devin, who was 9 years old at the time, asked if he could help me write a song. His idea was about a zebra named Sammy who is sad,” Peters said. “Wondering how to fit a sad song into my mix, I asked Devin why the zebra was sad, and he said that Sammy loses his stripes every time it rains, and since Sammy lives in the rainforest, he was sad a lot. Well, who knew that ‘Sammy the Zebra’ would be many, many children’s favorite song?”
Peters said the album took about a year to record, mix and master.
“Wanting to make sure that my CD had a professional sound, I met up with Patrick Dugan from Musical Expressions in Naperville, who is a professional musician, and he became my one-man band,” she said. “Patrick did all the music tracks and recording along with the mixing of all my songs. He made sure each song had its own special sound.”
Album No. 2 should be on the way shortly. In the meantime, Peters is having a blast hearing what people are saying about “Come and Swim with Me.”
“This has been so much fun for me to hear what other people have said about my CD. I love hearing what are the favorites, whether it’s ‘Chocolate Chip Cookies,’ ‘Come and Swim With Me,’ ‘Any Other Car Like That’ or ‘Mommy, I Want Salami,’” she said. “But one of the biggest compliments came from a guy in his 20s who said he loved that my songs were so ‘adult friendly.’ Another friend said she has ‘I Like Me’ set on her phone alarm clock, and she wakes up every day with me singing to her. Many other family and friends have purchased my CD to give as birthday gifts and baby gifts.”
Peters has taught for 22 years, and has been singing “for as long as she can remember.” She said teaching and singing are her two passions, and she further developed a love for music after she learned to play the guitar.
“I realized that I had my own melodies. I started writing music for my classes. My first song, called ‘Come and Swim with Me,’ got the songwriting started … and it hasn’t stopped since,” she said.
Peters said that when she can’t find a song to use while teaching, she’ll simply write the song herself. In fact, she challenged herself last year to pen a new song each week and, in her own words, “rose to the task” and had a blast sharing her songs with Brightest Stars Preschool students.
Peters began her career teaching in a developmental preschool. She developed a love of working with preschool-aged children and made the decision to operate a preschool out of her own house. In 2008, Peters and her husband, Bill, decided to purchase a building and open a preschool in Sugar Grove.
“I have a great support system that allows me to keep doing what I love—teaching and singing. My husband Bill has believed in me from the beginning of wanting to grow a preschool center and a music venture,” Amy said. “He is always there to help when I need my sound system set up for singing events, or for taking the kids to their activities when I have a show. And, of course, I would have never had my love of music without the influence of my number one fan: my mom. Thanks, mom.”