Kid Pan Alley Returns to Area for Songwriting Workshop

Last week, Kid Pan Alley instructors Kathy Hussey and Paddy Dougherty brought their talents as songwriters, composers and performers to Stanleytown Elementary for a week-long workshop for students organized as part of Piedmont Arts' educational outreach program. From January 31 - February 4, 2011, over 200 students learned to write songs about love, peace and even bacon! The workshop culminated with students giving a free public concert of February 4 at the school.

This marks Kid Pan Alley's third songwriting residency in Martinsville and Henry County. Piedmont Arts also brought the program to students at John Redd Smith Elementary and, in 2010, to students at Patrick Henry Elementary.

Founded by Paul Reisler in 1999, the mission of Kid Pan Alley is to inspire and empower children to express their innate creativity by helping classes write and perform original songs. Despite their youth, children are remarkably skilled at interpreting complex personal and world issues and learn to compromise and work together as a group to create a shared song.

While one might think that the kids write simple songs about their pets or family, they are often quite sophisticated, covering a range of subjects from Alzheimer’s Disease to love; from subjects they are studying in school to upcoming holidays such as "I Hate Valentine's Day", a colorful ode written by students at Stanleytown. Several songs written by children through Kid Pan Alley residencies are now being used in Kid Pan Alley’s character–development assembly program.

Kathy Hussey’s personal mission is to "inspire, enrich and elevate" young people through the vehicle of songwriting. She has won several major songwriting awards, released three albums as an independent artist, and has written and recorded hundreds of songs with budding songwriters (from 8–80 years old) in her workshops across the country. She has directed Camp Summersong, Nashville’s songwriting camp for at–risk girls, since 1999 and holds an annual summer faculty position at Perry–Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Paddy Dougherty is an award–winning performing songwriter and music instructor who leads Kid Pan Alley’s assembly program, Stand Up and Be Heard – One Little Song Can Change the World. Her band, the Paddy D Quartet, has independently released two CDs. Paddy has performed with the David Bromberg Band, the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra, Rita Coolidge and in house concerts across the country.

Kid Pan Alley is supported by The ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund, Bama Works Fund in the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, BAND Foundation, Caldwell Foundation, Crutchfield, The William & Mary Greve Foundation, Inc., Joseph and Lynne Horning, JABA, Lexis-Nexis, Loving Arms Assisted Living, Dietlinde Turban Maazel and Maestro Lorin Maazel, Mountain Laurel Foundation, NAMM Foundation, Piedmont Arts Association, Salesforce.com Foundation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts-Mellon Arts in Education Program, Wachovia - a Wells Fargo Company, Carli Zug and Steve Szymanski, and many schools, parent/teacher organizations, and individual donors. This residency was presented locally by Piedmont Arts with the generous support of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

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