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Group gathers to sing a song with a message
NORTH BEND - The sound of awareness and hope filled the air when 15 singers gathered last week to record a song aimed at helping to save children's lives.
Selected from a local talent search pool of more than 100 contestants, the group assembled at the North Bend Train Depot on Aug. 18 to record the song "The Gift of Life" for a Valley-based organization working to spread the word about children's organ donation. The tapes will be used to help organizers decide who will sing what parts when the final version of the song likely is recorded later this year.
CHERUBS (Children's Helpers Educating, Reassuring and Uniting By Sharing) was founded in 1998 by Valley resident Sandy Horvath and his son after friends lost their baby daughter following months of waiting for a heart transplant. Research showed that parents around the country were unaware of the national shortage of child organ donors.
Linked with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA), Life Centers Northwest, Coalition on Donation and many others, CHERUBS has spread the word to hundreds of people since its creation.
According to UNOS, there were 86,378 patients registered on the National Transplant waiting list on the day of the recording event. In 2003, 13,257 patients received an organ transplant while 12,281 died waiting for one. More than 5,000 patients on the list are under the age of 17.
One of the big issues regarding children's organ donation is that parents just don't consider it, Horvath said. Often parents are approached after a tragedy to donate organs, but many decide against it because they hadn't discussed it and do not want to make such a bold decision at a time of immense loss, he added.
To help get the message out, the group has decided to let the music help do the talking.
Horvath said the idea for the song has been on the group's radar for a while. Producer and song writer Chris Huard of Red Shed Studio in Fall City and Mike Bateman, a singer and songwriter from Snoqualmie, collaborated on the original version of the song.
What was missing, Horvath said, were the people to sing the number. To solve that problem the group decided to hold a talent contest at the Alpine Days festival earlier this month.
Patience Anderson, a 17-year-old lifeguard and Mount Si High School student, said she was intrigued by the contest because of her love of singing, but was excited to find that her efforts will be going to a worthy cause.
Jennifer Telling, a May Valley resident, said she, too, was unaware of CHERUBS before getting involved in the project, but as the mother of a 1 year old, she can relate to the cause.
With the message of the song aimed at family, Horvath said the mixed age of the performers will ensure that the song feels like a family affair when it's recorded.
"It'll truly be parents and kids making this message," said Horvath.
And that message, along with the vision of CHERUBS, is clear in the minds of the performers.
"It just knocked me out at how quickly they caught on to what we're trying to do and the message we're trying to send," said Horvath.
With the group's singers recorded for reference, Horvath said the process of making a final recording and deciding how to distribute the song is still to be determined.
Huard said with all the performers and musical ideas swirling, he is hoping to eventually release a full CD of music to help benefit the organization.
* For information, visit www.cherubs.org.
Travis Peterson can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.