Month: November 2015

Gratitude in 2015 – a Year of Restoring Joy and Hope

Gratitude in 2015 – a Year of Restoring Joy and Hope

Music brings people to life and life to people.  With an expanded mission of restoring Joy, Hope, Health and Community through Song, Songwriting Works served 10 communities across the U.S. this year bringing workshops, training and master classes to practitioners and families. We also finished production – including a new song and video – on our long-awaited Life’s a Song album to be released in Spring 2016.

Love launched a great year for Songwriting Works as founder & director Judith-Kate Friedman and SW Board President Daniel “3D” Deardorff gave a concert of original love songs at Key City Public Theatre on Valentine’s weekend. JKDD-LoveSongs-PT2015DD-jk5The next day Abakis and J-K led a “write a love song for Port Townsend” workshop with Jefferson County neighbors.LoveSongs-Workshops-2015poster







AgingInAmerica_LogoMARCH in CHICAGO:

SW launched its new website in collaboration with Danny McEnerney of Workin’ Man Creative (and now of RockFish). Judith-Kate joined long-time colleagues Kathy Sykes of the Environmental Protection Agency, neuroscientist Peter Whitehouse, dancer Maria Genné of Kairos Alive! and Jennie Smith-Peers, director of Elders Share the Arts at the Aging in America Conference. Together they celebrated seven years of intergenerational creativity, poems, songs and performance contest inspired by Rachel Carson’s “Sense of Wonder” – the book which raised public awareness and sparked the conservation and ecology movements.  Contest winners included SW volunteer Ella Ashford, now 14, who was 11 when she composed “Me and You.” 


Aegis Close Up 2015

Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA),   Aegis Living of Edmonds and Elderwise   partnered with SW to bring a two-day 
adventure in songwriting to people living with memory loss. Aegis partici-pants composed a rousing song about their love of music – in Norwegian, Swedish, French, English – with SW’s Keeth Monta Apgar and Judith-Kate Friedman. Much joy and a renewed sense of possibility were shared by all who attended. King and Snohomish County dementia care and arts professionals also gained new skills at SW’s “Music as an Innovation in Dementia Care” training.


Judith-Kate Friedman taught at The National Center for Creative Aging’s Professional Development Institute at the Kreeger Museum and brought insights from 25 years composing songs across the cognitive continuum to conferees of the 2nd annual “Creative Age” Conference and Leadership Exchange. J-K was honored to serve as a notetaker at the National Endowment for the Arts’ Summit on Creativity and Aging, a pre-conference for the White House Conference on Aging.

Judith-Kate Friedman was named a 2015-17 Fellow of the Jubilation Foundation whose mission is to “help individuals and organizations with an exceptional talent for helping young people feel fully alive through rhythm — as expressed in music and dance.”



* a project of the Tides Foundation

Songwriting Works used the Jubilation award to make a studio recording and video of the song “Home Town.” Composed by Jefferson Community School students (7-12 graders) along with Judith-Kate and community elders Martha E. “Marty” Richards and Bill Mawhinney “Home Town” sings of the longing for the beauty, people and peace one finds “by the sea, wondering if my home town is longing for me.” JCS graduating senior Hanna Rose Trailer sang lead and apprenticed with Judith-Kate as the song’s associate producer. Vocalist Alanna Shaladra Dailey and drummer Tomoki Sage joined Trailer, Friedman, Apgar and Mawhinney at George Rezendes’ ToolShed SoundLab for the recording. 


The crew then took in classic Port Townsend sights as filmmaker Gabe van Lelyveld of Whaleheart Productions directed the “Home Town” music video and mentored JCS student Mikayla Hemsley and SW’s Sam Robinson on 2nd and 3rd camera respectively. Filming took place at Kai Tai Lagoon, Chetzemoka Park, Fort Worden and out on the water in Joe Trailer (Hanna’s dad’s) boat. 


With “Home Town” audio files in hand, Judith-Kate spent a day with producer and multi-instrumentalist Orville Johnson “Home Town” for inclusion on SW’s long-awaited “Life’s a Song” album now scheduled for mid-2016 release with an expanded playlist of thirteen songs co-written by 200 Olympic Peninsula (WA) neighbors, ages 12 to 103, in collaboration with SW’s team of award-winning professional musicians. Inspired by the album’s themes of sea, mountains, and the joy of song in community watercolorist John Adams of Bainbridge Island, WA created the original painting “Northwest Medley,” which won SW’s “Life’s a Song” cover art contest. (See lead photo of this post.) The “Life’s a Song” album is supported in part by a Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and our successful Kickstarter campaign. 

Judith-Kate Friedman and Rabbi Sheldon Marder marked 12 years of creative collaboration with elders of the Jewish Home San Francisco who sang their original songs based upon the Psalms to welcome the Jewish New Year.JHdedication-257


Harvest time brought SW consulting and training across the country.
October began with a dynamic week in Los Angeles: Judith-Kate Friedman presented a poster, met with research faculty from throughout the University of California system at research faculty at the UC MERCI Symposium on Music in relation to Brain Science, Medicine, & Education and sang to close the convening. She then joined Robert Atchley to share duties as Bards threading song and musical improvisation throughout the 6th International Ageing and Spirituality Conference, hosted by Front Porch and the California Lutheran Homes’ Center for Spirituality and Aging.

Consulting work was a focus as Judith-Kate conducted Master Classes and Teaching Institutes for teaching artists at Lifesongs at the Academy for the Love of Learning in Santa Fe, NM and Arts for the Aging in Washington, DC. She spoke on Intergenerational Program Design and Music-Making Access for persons living with dementia and their loved ones as the keynote at “Defining Hope,” the Alzheimer’s Association Heart of America Chapter’s annual conference in Kansas City (also see “Painting By the Window” story in November’s newsletter).

As Thanksgiving drew near SW returned to the Greenwood Senior Center in Seattle’s Phinney neighborhood to compose songs with participants living with memory loss plus family and friends. Keeth Apgar and Judith-Kate Friedman facilitated.  The song will be performed next year as part of the Art of Alzheimer’s exhibit at Seattle’s City Hall.  


Your support is always welcome. Our Giving Tuesday# campaign is on December 1st.

Or contact us about volunteering, sponsoring a Life’s a Song song e-page or event in 2016.