Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 How you get those kids to create a song in an hour is very, very cool! It really teaches a lot about collaboration and how to focus on a creative endeavor – something a lot of artists (and future artists) of every type could use. The kids will always carry the experiences forward. It’s like swimming in the river of creativity! The kids are so creative and full of energy. Song-Camp is an antidote to the poisoning delivered by small thinking. Thanks for inviting me to observe. I enjoyed it immensely. Jari Thymian Poet, Author of The Meaning of Barns” - Jari Thymian

Poet and Author - Jari Thymian

Sunday, October 11, 2009 Song-CAMP [ ] – Next Generation Songwriters I have the pleasure to assist Walt Lofstrom and Mary Morrissey in "Song-CAMP", a program that writes songs with 3rd,4th and 5th grade elementary school kids. Each week, we have two groups of around 15 kids, each writing and recording their own song in one hour! Song-CAMP: "Children's After-school Mentoring Project" * "Children Playing at Fame as Singer-Songwriters, Performers and Recording Stars!" * "A Child's Gateway to encouraging and fostering Increased Learning and Self-Esteem through the magical art of Writing, Performing and Recording their own Songs!" * "Guiding children to freely express themselves creatively through Music and the Arts, for Life!" Last week was great example of the success of the program. There was a boy, who from his body language, looked like a bomb ready to explode. Another boy said something to him and he said that he’ll “see him outside later.” When we asked the group for a word about some activity at school, he said “fighting.” At the start of the songwriting process, he held back. Then he proposed a first line and suggested that we do the song as a rap. Everyone quickly agreed. Lyrics flowed quickly and when it came time for a melody, he drummed a complex rhythm using his hand and magic marker on the table. No question, it was perfect for the rap. The group circled around him and mini-studio to record the new song. At the end, accolades flowed and a smile emerged. When asked if he was a drummer, he said "no, this was his first time.” To that Walt responded, “You are a drummer now.” These kids with no formal training continue to amaze and inspire me. They’re not crippled yet by judgment. They let ideas flow and are willing to try new things. They are all songwriters! Jeff” - Jeff Oxenford

Oxenford Consulting LLC

Walt, I listened to the songs on the website. They made me smile and laugh. I'm really excited to be involved with SONG-camp a bit. Kate”

— Kate Hoffmeyer - Parkview Youth & Young Adult Leader

CJ gave walt this Song-CAMP update from her little 5 year-old niece Phoebe(brain cancer survivor): Phoebe continues to ask her parents to play the "Phoebe's Song" after she says her prayers before bedtime. Walt Lofstrom”

— C.J. Smith (Phoebe's aunt)

Hey Dad, I just listened to Pheobe’s song on your website…wow! These Song-CAMP Kids are amazing. Keep up the meaningful work! Eric” - Eric Lofstrom

— Walt's Son

Dear Walt, Please forgive my slow response to your message on CaringBridge. The good part of doing so well now is that I don't visit my own site as often, so it wasn't until yesterday that I read your kind and thoughtful message. I was so touched as I listened to the girls' songs [Phoebe's Song and Tayler's Song] and my heart and prayers go out to them and their families. I do believe there is a kindred spirit amongst those who have been touched by cancer and I will hold them close, along with others that I know who are walking the same journey. So, here's a message you can pass on to the families however you wish, and also a prayer to share. This prayer has been so comforting for me these past two years.......thanks for all you do to show God's love for others, Blessings, Hazel PS: See Photo and this text at Song-CAMP's "PHOTOS" section.” - Hazel K

Caring Bridge Website

CONNIE MORGAN - Author, Speaker, and Educator from Denver, CO writes: What I observed today was the most extraordinary teaching process I have ever seen. When Walt told me the kids were going to write music, I had no idea they would be asked to come up with the title of a song, write each and every line of the song, and create the rhythm [and a melody] - all within one hour! The teaching style of Walt and Mary inspired the group to work together until they had a song they could record. I was blown away to see kids improving their communication skills and increasing their level of confidence while collectively writing and recording a song that would reach the hearts of people around the world. Connie Morgan has written a book about her own "Unexpected Journey." Connie Morgan, Author of "STAND, WALK, RUN FREE -Overcoming Expectations of a Perfect Life" 303-758-3707” - Connie Morgan

Author, Speaker and Educator, Denver CO

Hi Walt- I'm Phoebe's aunt-Caleb is my brother (and my Aunt Kit is one of my favorite people in the world, like a sister to me.) I can't tell you how much your words and love and prayers-and now, especially, your incredible musical contribution-mean to me and my family. Your song for Phoebe brings me to tears just thinking about it.the love and compassion that's transmitted with it is palpable and humbling. Thank you so much ... with a big hug to you and all your Song-CAMPers. Love, Shannon PS: Gummy and Gumpy are our parents, Phoebe's grandparents-Skip and Carol. They live here in Maine but my mom (Gummy) is staying out there for the whole course of radiation treatments.) - - - - - - - YES, PLEASE share my thoughts with your kids...and add that I think they are AMAZING, to take the risk of singing out loud, of opening their hearts for total strangers, of sharing what is beautiful inside of them to make someone else's life a little more beautiful, especially at a time when it's easier to see the ugliness. It makes me cry (AGAIN) just thinking about their generosity and selflessness. I am sure that some of them know they are talented already; to them, I say THANK YOU for sharing your gifts in this deeply meaningful way. And to the ones who don't believe in their talents yet, I say someday you will hear yourself the way that I hear you today: you are (already, right NOW) a gifted, creative, wonderful individual with much to contribute to this world. And you're already helping other people, already doing great things. You are all an inspiration to me. I can't thank you enough for sharing yourselves in this very special way. (Now, to grab the Kleenex and back to work. Thanks, Walt, so much.) XO ST” - Shannon Thompson

— Phoebe's Aunt Shannon

Dear Walt, It doesn’t take much to make me cry these days, so here I sit once again in tears after listening to the sweet song your SongCAMP kids wrote and sang for Phoebe. It is wonderful. Prayer is so powerful, but the prayers of children, I believe, are particularly meaningful and so, so powerful. Just as I expected, Phoebe LOVED the song, loved hearing the voices of the SongCAMP children, and so enjoyed seeing the photo of them singing. We can’t tell you how grateful we are. We have been so humbled by the love and prayers we’ve received from strangers – not really strangers, but friends we have yet to meet. Please tell the children that their song is being added to a CD that Phoebe takes to UW Medical Center every day. She chooses a song from the CD to listen to each day when she enters the treatment room and as she sits on my lap waiting for the “sleepy medicine” to begin it’s work of helping Phoebe be still for her radiation treatment. She told me that she’ll listen to “her” song tomorrow. Thank you again, Walt. Hugs to you and all the SongCAMPers, too. Tell them again how much Phoebe and her parents love their song! With love and gratitude, Kerry” - Kerry Holland

— Phoebe's Mom