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Clearwater Will Introduce an Online Song-Writing Project

February 12, 2015

BEACON, NY- A unique “Build-a-Song” project is to be launched online February 19th by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater that aims to engage any-and-all comers in helping write a new anthem about Climate Change.


The organization that folksinger Pete Seeger founded some 46 years ago will use modern sound technology to enable old-timey collaboration among musicians and songwriters from – potentially, at least – every corner of the globe.


Clearwater’s music director, Linda Richards, says Build-a-Song provides a new means for musical collaboration, allowing participants to upload their work on one of three easily accessible song-sharing sites. Richards will appear on Jimmy Buff’s Fridaymorning show on Radio Woodstock, 100.1 FM, February 13 to describe the song-writing process, which starts with a month-long contest to create four verses for an original chorus.

“It is easy, anyone can participate, and we are going to walk you through it,” says Richards, who wrote the chorus for the tune, called “Don’t Walk Away.”


On Feb. 19, the word “Music” will appear in the green banner at the top of the Clearwater website,, signaling the start of Build-a-Song. Those who click on Music will find easy directions for the song-writing process and a recording of the chorus done by Clearwater’s Power of Song group, made through Artfarm Recording Studio.


Participants can pick an online site to record their own original verses and submit them by email before March 20th. Richards said 20 finalists will be selected by a jury that includes the Power of Song youth apprentices. “Then, anyone can go online and vote for their favorites, and the winners will become the song,” says Richards, who founded the Power of Song program in collaboration with Seeger, who died last year at 93.


Power of Song will perform the final version of the song at this year’s Great HudsonRiver Revival festival in Croton-on-Hudson on June 20th and 21st, and for various audiences throughout the Clearwater music programs.


The issue of climate change has clearly emerged as the pre-eminent environmental issue of our time, Richards notes. “As Clearwater addresses the issue, we need to do it in the Clearwater fashion; the Clearwater fashion is music. The organization was created (by Seeger) under the auspices of music activism. We need to continue to nurture and support music with meaning, and we need to do that in all the ways available to us.”


The music world has undergone a tremendous transition in the past decade, Richards says, most strikingly in the past five years. Now, music is instantly accessible, all the time, virtually any place on the globe. “In response to the ease with which we can access music now, we need to shift the way we make music,” adds the music director. “With Build-a-Song, we can use new technologies to create a song that will in turn be heard and shared at sing-a-longs everywhere.”


Richards says she thinks that Seeger, an acknowledged leader of the collaborative, sing-along tradition, would have supported the idea: “I think Pete would respect and enjoy this project. It’s encompassing and accessible, just like he was. He probably would have offered about ten great ideas to make it even better!”


For more information, contact Linda Richards, To hear the Power of Song singers, visit


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