“Rock-A-Bye Baby” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” are popular lullabies that most of us grew up listening to, but now one family has a new tune — all thanks to the Oregon Symphony.
The “Lullaby Project,” initially created by Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute, pairs musicians with parents experiencing housing insecurity to compose a personalized lullaby. The Oregon Symphony has been participating in the project since 2018, in partnership with the Portland Homeless Family Solutions.
This year Nick, a father of 4, became the program’s first-ever father to take part in the Lullaby Project. In a emotional and heartwarming video, he could be seen wiping his tears as he sits with his children to listen to his lullaby for the very first time. Oregon Symphony creative chair Gabriel Kahane worked with Nick from conception to completion. Kahane says the lullaby, called “My Beautiful Saviors” was inspired by the words Nick used to describe his children.
From the writing of the lyrics to selecting the type of instruments– the Lullaby project is truly a collaboration effort. The process is broken down into four sessions: creative, recording, sharing and celebration. In the creative session parents write a personal letter to their kids, which the singer/songwriter than uses to help craft the lyrics. The process usually takes about a day. A lullaby is typically finished and recorded about a month after the creative session.
“There’s something really particular about watching someone with whom you’ve made something and having made something with whom I probably would’ve never met in my everyday life.. That’s moving in a different way,” Kahane said. “It’s less about me as a creator conveying something to an audience where I want people to think about this or that idea… it’s a more of a direct sense of having changed someone.”
Due to COVID-19, the sharing of Nick’s lullaby had to be done from a distance. Regardless of the circumstances, Kahane, who is also a father, says being able to share the final product with Nick and his kids was still “incredibly moving.”