Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

November 1, 2013

Lessons from the pros

Peru H. S. choir students learn from hit songwriter and award-winning artist

Aaron Barker strummed on a guitar in Peru High School’s choir room Thursday and sang his famous Christmas cookies song.

“I sure do like those Christmas cookies, sugar,” he sang. “I sure do like those Christmas cookies, babe. The ones that look like Santa Claus, Christmas trees, bells and stars, I sure do like those Christmas cookies, babe.”

George Strait recorded that song on a Christmas CD in 1999 — about 25 years after Barker wrote it and tucked it away in a drawer, he told students.

His mom used to make Christmas cookies every year, and he would snatch them up and eat them before she even had time to ice them.

So right out of high school, Barker decided to write a funny, little song about it. He recorded the song on a cassette tape and stashed it away in a drawer.

He wasn’t sure whether it was even any good.

“This is stuff I wrote down when I was real young,” he said. “I didn’t even know it was relevant.”

Then the King of Country needed a new Christmas song to record. He asked Barker if he had any. Barker initially told him, “no.”

Then Barker’s wife reminded him that he had that cookies song sitting in a drawer.

So Strait recorded it. Then the Oakridge Boys recorded it. Now, the “Duck Dynasty” family wants to record it, too.

“That old Christmas cookie song sure did me good,” he told the students.

It was part of a lesson on songwriting.

Barker and his wife have been coming to Peru High School for 11 years. Each time they bring a different guest artist with them. This year it was Gary Chapman, a Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter and his wife, Cassie.

The goal was to teach teens how to capture moments and turn them into a song.

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