City Lights: The best Mother's Day gift

When HP Laborde finishes his pet project, it may be the mother of all music videos. And the music video of all mothers.

Laborde, the leader of the Huntington Beach-based band A Choired Taste, has embarked on a project to create a DVD tribute to his mom, who died April 10, 2010. He hopes to have the video available by Mother's Day. And as Mother's Day gifts go, this one is elaborate to say the least.

The song, "To Mom," runs about four minutes, but the list of contributors sounds almost as hefty as the team on Britney Spears' latest album. In addition to the eight members of A Choired Taste, the track features a 12-piece choir, strings, a symphonic arranger and pianist, a flautist, a horn section director, a videographer and a team of engineers.

And when viewers pop in the DVD of "To Mom," all those performers will only take up part of the screen. Laborde has asked friends and fans to submit photos of their mothers, which will scroll vertically on one side as the band plays.

"We're offering this to the general public," said Laborde, who has a recording session booked April 12. "We have fans that have come and watched us play, and we've sent them requests to participate."

Laborde originally wrote the tune in 1989 as a gift to his sister, but he never settled on lyrics for it. After their mother's death, he completed the words:

"Are you sorry you gave up your freedom for your family?/Do you wish you had spent more time just for yourself?/Do you gaze at the mother that you once called your baby?/Then your heart fills with joy as you realize your wealth."

It's wealth of a different kind that Laborde has struggled with in undertaking his project.

The participants have contributed funds for the video, and Laborde has contacted his e-mail list asking people to send him checks along with photos of their mothers. When he finishes the video, he plans to put a 40-second clip of it on YouTube with an advertisement to visit to buy the DVD for $10.

Proceeds from the song, which Laborde plans to sell on iTunes, CD Baby and other websites, will go to pay off the donors, musicians and other creative team members.

"We have so many hardship cases," he said. "I'm trying to provide for 25 people, basically, who are struggling in this economy."

In other words, Laborde is trying to do a lot with a little for a large group of people. And if that isn't an apt tribute to mothers everywhere, I don't know what is.

City Editor MICHAEL MILLER can be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at

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