In Spring 2008, elders at Luther Manor in Wauwatosa, WI found a common theme for their first original community song: LOVE. NPR-affiliate Wisconsin Public Radio sent Lake Effect’s Sara Prince to interview SW Founder Judith-Kate Friedman and capture the story of how a love song was brought to life in an hour-long workshop.
Listen to the segment below as Judith-Kate asks participants “What does love do (for you)?” Della, one of the elders, chimes in saying “It means a song in your heart that cries out: help me, Lord, help me!” Shared and contrasting sentiments quickly give way to more reflections as the group’s words soon become lyrics. Della and others set the melody and Edwin, artist-in-resident percussionist matches their rhythm on the conga. “All The Time,” the song that results, celebrates the ever-recurring, ever-changing, and ever-mysterious topic of love in a classic blend of gospel and blues over a sensual latin groove.
Here’s a tip for celebrating love and creativity: Next time you’re with someone you care about, ask about them to share a memory of love. Listen closely for the rhythms of the words and any melody they evoke. Then experiment by humming or singing a note or two of that melody, setting words or a phrase to music. See what pleases you both. If you’ve never tried it – this is one way that great composers start songwriting. When we create music and memories with loved ones, we give love new meaning!
Songwriting Works workshop made possible with support from Ann Basting and the UWM Center for Age and Community with thanks to Beth Meyer-Arnold, Director of Adult Day Services at Luther Manor and Sara Prince of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Lake Effect.
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