Watching video of the devastating Asian tsunami aftermath struck a creative chord with 17-year-old Brenna Daldorph.
Overcome with emotion from visions of the destruction that claimed 170,000 lives, the Lawrence High School junior was inspired to write a song, "Waves of Life," that reflected the "make a difference" theme for the Journal-World's annual songwriting contest.
"It happened on such a big scale, and I think that's why it affected me so much," said Daldorph, the winner of the Journal-World's contest that was held in conjunction with USA Weekend's national contest.
A kind gesture by one of her friend's little sisters also pulled at the budding songwriter's heartstrings.
"For her birthday party, instead of asking for presents, she asked to have donations for tsunami victims," Daldorph said. "That a little girl would do that is so nice. We sent in money, and so did family and friends."
Creative writing comes naturally for Daldorph. Her father, Brian, is a poet and English professor at Kansas University. Her sister, Lucy, a 13-year-old at Central Junior High, assisted her on "Waves of Life."
"I've always enjoyed writing," said Brenna, who enjoys the music of Ben Folds and Counting Crows. "I just like art in general. I like music, too. I'm always listening to different things, so it seemed like a cool idea to write a song."
Her selection of the title was a no-brainer, she said.
"The waves of the tsunami were so destructive, but then by giving aid, better waves happen and it really is life to the people affected," she said.
One of her favorite lyrics in the song comes in the chorus: "To reach our hands across the lands."
"I was kind of humming those words," she said. "The important part of writing the song is if you can hum along to the words, then it'd sound more like a song than a poem."
Besides writing, Daldorph is involved in several other activities and clubs at LHS. She belongs to Young Democrats and Model U.N. She participates in theater and choreographed a song by Counting Crows, "Accidentally in Love," for Showtime, the school's annual musical variety show. (SEE IF THE SHOW GOT IN!!!)
If Daldorph had to pick an artist to perform her song, Ben Folds or the Counting Crows would be her choices.
"I think any artist could have a different take on it," she said. "So many artists have come together for the tsunami relief. I think people would be open to it."
Daldorph was encouraged to enter the songwriting contest by Joy Clumsky, creative writing teacher at LHS.
|By Jordyn Bloomwith help from Abby WardShe thought about it for a long timeShe's a twelve year old with a lot on her mindShe wanted to talk this overShe wanted to work this outBut all she could do was scream and shoutShe's a twelve year oldA girl who's always done what she's been toldShe likes to play ballet and rollerblade all dayBut she wanted to make a difference in her worldBut no one would listenNo one would careNo one would act as if she was thereSo she made her voice louderShe made them hearAnd now she's a woman who's loud and clear|
"She didn't even get any extra credit for it or anything," Clumsky said. "That's a true writer who wants to do something badly enough to do in addition to another project. She's very dedicated."
Clumsky said her creative writing class focused on the basic elements of poetry, rhythm, figures of speech and emotional intensity.
"We worked very hard on finding the perfect word, circling all generic verbs and finding strong ones," she said. "I see that in her writing.
"So many people write things they call poems, and they aren't poems. They're just prose looking funny on the page."
Clumsky thought Daldorph's words were a natural fit for a song.
"If you write a really good poem with lots of rhythm and beautiful language, it can be put to music any time," Clumsky said. "The two are interchangeable."
Daldorph's and other songwriting entries to the Journal-World were forwarded to the USA Weekend contest, which drew approximately 10,000 entries. USA Weekend, inserted every Sunday in the Journal-World, plans to announce the national winner May 22.
|By Tony AndersonWhere do you see yourself,In about twenty plus?Do you see yourself with me,Helping the community,The world?I see kids with no choice,Addicted to crack at birth.They're standing in this world alone.Nobody cares what their life is worth.Politician's thoughts come to mind:"Only the strong survive."I see beautiful womenIn abusive relationships,Constantly being hit,Still too strong to quit.Violence and hatred,When's it going to stop?Together, we can change the world.I see politiciansHelping starving children,And beaten women.Who will help quell their fears,In about twenty years?Where do you see yourself,In about twenty plus?Do you see yourself with me,Helping the community,The world?|
|By Josh EdwardsThe world around me is going insane,Torn apart by divisiveness,Children crying in pain.So many people I can help today.Chorus:Every day I can make a difference.I just have to lift up myself and try.With a smile I make a differenceIn someone else's life.I just have to lift up myself and try.With the world torn apart with genocide,I wonder what I can do.I send money and hope, to help them cope.I get others to help by my side.When the hungry and battered cry, I send food,But I still wonder what I can do.Every day, I try to lift up another life,All I ask is, you try too.Chorus x2|
|By Ian AdemaInfected with hate,Feeling no worth,Anger consumes them.They feel no one loves them.Driving out anguish,They end their livesAnd others in bloodshed.Look at all the pain around you.Take time for a word of kindness.Take time for a simple smile.Take time to show himHe's so much more than worthless.Rejected in life,Wanting to die,Depression consumes her.The world only shuns her,Ending her life.They mourn her last breath.Look at all the hate around you.Take time for a word of kindness.Take time for a simple smile.Take time to show herShe's so much more than worthless.|
|By Chayme ChavezEveryone asks, "Why can't we just get along?"I ask the same question.If they would just listen to what we say,Then maybe this world would be what God really created.(Chorus)Can you see what this is doingTo all the families?You've got to just let it alone, and this world will be happy.Stop trying to fight their war.Where do we go from here? None of this smoke is clear.I can't see, breathe, hear, for those guns are killing people.Hear my cry. Let this pain die, not our brothers and sisters.I pray this world will heal.We have got to let go of the hurt and be what God wants us to be.(Repeat Chorus)|
|By Ashley CaldwellIt's taken days and nightsTo make me realizeI'm not the only oneYearning to save this phobic world.I'm still searching for a placeTo hide when the coldness seeps inFrom beneath the door.Loving the world may not be the answer.I'm wishing we could settleFor the love offered every day.Roaming through the windless nights,I'm searching for a way to make a difference.Wanting my smile to light up the room,I dream of a place with no fear.A place to stir the sleeping pastINto a future of beauty.Filling the incomplete spacesI seek a way to save the world.One person at a time,Just dreaming to make a difference.|
|By Heidi TenPasToday's a dreamWaiting to be awokenTodayThere's a barrierWaiting to be brokenTodayThere's a visionWaiting to be conveyedTodayThere's a differenceWaiting to be madeCHORUS:So don't wait in lineChild, now is your timeFlash a smileLend a handPlant your seedsTo save the landFor every step you takeThere's another you can giveWith every difference your life makesA better life another livesTodayThere's a songWaiting to be spokenTodayThere's a soulWaiting to be unbrokenTodayThere's a childWaiting to be savedTodayThere's a differenceWaiting to be madeCHORUSYayeyeah today is yours to takeEvery difference yours to make|