My sister Barbra, a cancer survivor, asked me to write a song on this year’s Relay for Life theme,”Happy Birthday.” I was driving to Jackson for state chorus (I had four 5th and 6th grade students in it this year). It was a Thursday. Not having attempted songwriting in years, I had my doubts that I could do this in less than a month. I told her I’d try, but wasn’t promising anything. As soon as I got off the phone with her I said something like, “God, if you have a melody for me, let me hear it.” I gave it over to God to decide.
I turned on the radio for inspiration, but there was a country song on, not my favorite genre, so I turned it off and started thinking about words. I thought about how cruel cancer is, and how the victims would like to make it to just one more birthday. I thought about the suffering and the wish for a cure; and how Relay for Life is a gathering for family and friends to raise money for that cure. I thought about the remembrances for the victims as well as support for the survivors. I started humming these words and suddenly I had the first 2 verses of “Many More Birthdays.” I took out my iPhone and recorded myself singing it.
When I got to the convention it was very hectic. That afternoon I went back to my room to rest, typed the words into the notes of my iPhone and came up with a chorus. Basically done. When I got home that Sat., I wrote out the melody notes and chords, played around to get an accp., wrote that out. A couple of weeks later I played it on keyboard, taped it onto cassette. But I needed it on a CD. This took a LOT of time and research. I almost gave up, but wound up downloading Audacity to convert it into an mp3, using my webcam built in microphone and made a CD!!! The quality isn’t great, but it works! woo hoo!
Now I get to hear Dinah Howell Lachney–a great singer who stood in line next to Kelly Pickler while trying out for American Idol–sing it Friday night (May 21st) at Scott County’s Relay for Life in Forest, MS. (Pray it doesn’t rain us out!) Dedicated to all the cancer survivors and victims! I’m sad to report that a the sister of one of my best childhood friends passed away a few days ago after a 24 year battle with cancer. She was 57. Pray for a cure!