Songs of Love: Making a Difference with the ‘Medicine of Music’
I remember a spring day three years ago, when I was reading the back pages of the Nashville Scene (a weekly publication) and came across an ad that caught my eye. A nonprofit organization was looking for songwriters to create original music for children who were seriously ill. Children are near and dear to my heart. I have one niece and three nephews between the ages of five and nine who I dearly love. Thankfully, they are all healthy members of my family. I have worked in other projects involving children, so of course I answered the advertisement in the Nashville Scene for a composer and musician who could supply the ‘medicine of music’. After sending them a sample of my work, I was hired as a ‘song doctor’ for the organization Songs of Love (www.songsoflove.org). I have been supporting this caring organization for three years now. Of all of my work in the music business during 25 years, this has been the most rewarding aspect of my career.
To give you some background on Songs of Love, its founder and president, John Beltzer started the organization in February of 1996. He began with one song for a little girl with cancer, and since that time thousands of songs have been written and produced for over 300 hospitals. There are over 350 songwriters, singers, instrumentalists who are involved as ‘song doctors’ for this wonderful organization. You won’t see or hear these songs on the radio or television, or see the musicians receive awards for their medicinal songs. However, the rewards we receive from this are much greater while we are sending love through music to these children and young adults who are fighting serious illnesses. While some children heal, others do not. Nevertheless, they all know during their illness’ that there are people who care about them.
Musicians who work for Songs of Love are given information on each child, including their family, friends and favorite things, to aid composition of a personalized song. When the musician receives a letter from the family explaining what the song means to their child and to them, it’s worth more than #1 records, awards, or anything else like that ever would. I have received gratitude letters from the families, and a recent one from a child, who now is healing!
One Christmas, I received a very special gift from a thoughtful family who video recorded their little girl having a special outing in an amusement park. Her family had my song for her playing in the background of that recording. I can hardly describe what it meant to me to see their child’s happiness while she dealt with terminal illness. It was a real thrill for me to see the photos from her special “Make a Wish” trip with my music playing in the background. The note from her mother strongly affected me, with much joy from awareness that the song I had created for this precious girl had made such an impact on the family. There is no greater compliment for a songwriter than to have people tell you that your songs touched their heart, inspired them and made a difference in their lives. I feel very blessed that I became involved with Songs of Love and that I am able to use my music to bring something positive into these children’s lives.
Donations to the nonprofit organization Songs of Love ensure its success. Contact the organization if you want to know more about Songs of Love www.songsoflove.org, want to become a sponsor or song doctor, or if you have or know a child for whom you would like to have a song created. You will be so glad that you participated in the ‘medicine of music’.