Month-long contest to write verses to climate change song

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has launched a unique “Build-a-Song” online project 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 employ modern 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. The songwriting process starts with a month-long contest to create four verses for an original chorus.

Clearwater's Power of Song apprentices
Clearwater’s Power of Song apprentices

“It is easy, anyone can participate, and we are going to walk you through it,” said Richards, who wrote the chorus for the tune, called “Don’t Walk Away.” Directions for the song writing process and a recording of the chorus done by Clearwater’s Power of Song group is available on, under the banner “Music.”

Participants can pick an online site to record their own original verses and submit them by email before March 20. 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,” said 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 Hudson River Revival festival in Croton-on-Hudson on June 20 and 21. For more information, contact Linda Richards at [email protected].

Photo courtesy of Clearwater

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