News Column

Fresno musicians release new Christmas album

November 23, 2013


Nov. 23--Local artists Jamie Fernandez and Amelia Sarkisian have recorded a new Christmas album, "Two Voices, One Christmas."

The CD features 13 traditional Christmas carols and Advent songs, including "Ave Maria" and "O Holy Night."

KNXT-TV, which is owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, produced the album. It was released Nov. 3 and costs $19.95.

Musical arrangements and piano accompaniment are by Sarkisian's father, David Sarkisian, long-time music director at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Fresno. Amelia sings at the 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sundays at St. Anthony.

Also appearing on the album are violinist Patrick Contreras and guitarist Steve Ono.

The Bee recently caught up with Fernandez and Amelia Sarkisian to learn more about them.

Question: How do you describe your style of music?

Fernandez: Classical. The type of music you will hear on the album is all traditional and sung from the heart and soul.

Sarkisian: Growing up in a house full of proficient musicians, silence is a rare phenomenon. I love all the music they would play: all the classical pieces my mom sings and teaches her students; all the jazz arrangements my brother and his friends would jam to; and all the "everything" my dad plays, every instrument, every genre of song, and most especially every piano "doodle" he creates.

I don't write my own music, and I don't ascribe to any particular genre of music ... so I think the most befitting term for my style of music is eclectic.

What is the inspiration involving the new CD?

Fernandez: I believe the inspiration involving the new CD is the entire KNXT community. We wanted to create something that would reflect the heart and soul of the community, as well as provide them with a gift back for all of their support for KNXT.

Sarkisian: Christmas spirit, duh! Just kidding, that's part of it (though I wouldn't have thought so in July when we were recording all these Christmas songs). It was (KNXT board member) Bud Elliott's idea, and his fervent efforts and persistence that made this CD possible.

Who has influenced your music -- and in what specific ways?

Fernandez: My parents. Ever since I had begun singing, they were always there to support me -- driving me to rehearsals, practices, providing me with financial support to travel to different towns, cities, states and countries to perform. I know my thanks is only minuscule compared to their unfailing support.

Sarkisian: My parents. Without a doubt. First of all, without their immeasurable talent as a model growing up, I am convinced I would not possess half the talent I have today.

So I've always had a solid foundation of practical singing knowledge. As I've grown older, they have told me not only to produce a sound that reflects my age and vocal maturity, but a sound that reflects me. That right there has been the most influential piece of advice anyone has ever given me.

What do you want people to get out of listening to "Two Voices, One Christmas"?

Fernandez: I would like people to take away a sense of the traditional feel of the Christmas season when listening to this album. This album provides a more traditional/classical promotion of the Christmas spirit, contrary to the more modernized albums out there.

Sarkisian: Call me clich , but I want people to enjoy it. It's a pleasant album with pleasant songs. I hope it makes a nice addition to everyone's Christmas music collections this holiday season.

How can people buy your music?

Go to

The reporter can be reached at or (559) 441-6304.


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