The I'll Fly Away Foundation, which uses the power of music to engage children and improve their lives through songwriting, has announced a partnership with the Kirklees Council, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi and Stax Music Academy today. Through this partnership, the I'll Fly Away Foundation will be connecting children from the United Kingdom and the United States through an online songwriting workshop to unlock their creative potential and help inspire their dreams.
Founded in 2011 by husband and wife team Betsy Brumley and Kevin Bernier, the I'll Fly Away Foundation celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2021. "I'll Fly Away," written by Betsy's grandfather, Albert E. Brumley in 1932, is one of the most recognizable hymns in history and has been recorded by music artists in nearly every genre. The saying goes “it all starts with a song,” and the I'll Fly Away Foundation believes that a song can change a life. "I’ve always believed every crisis has a silver lining and because of the pandemic we were able to form an international songwriting collaboration project earlier than planned. We knew we needed to bring hope to young people in both our nations. Our partners are like family and we have come together to unite our children in song," shared Betsy.
"As we were writing the songs, it really broke down those barriers, and the walls came down," Betsy shared with American Songwriter. "All of a sudden, these kids were communicating in the same language: song. They were writing songs and practicing them together on the playground. Teachers were telling us that these kids never played together and now they were, through this understanding of songs.”
Kath Wynne-Hague, Strategic Lead for Cultural Development of Kirklees Council describes the impact this program will have on the workshop participants,“I am so excited to be working with the I’ll Fly Away Foundation and partners, to deliver this fabulous project. Through songwriting, we hope to bring young people together from the heart of West Yorkshire, UK, and the USA to explore their creativity, develop new skills and most importantly build friendships. This project is the start of a partnership that we hope to grow for years to come. Here in Kirklees, we have our Year of Music in 2023, and we have ambitions to deliver something amazing for all involved.”
"Songwriting workshops and international student exchanges are part of the perfect world for the Stax Music Academy," shared the academy's Executive Director Pat Mitchell Worley. "Now, with the 2019 installation of our permanent Justin Timberlake/ Levi's Music Project Songwriting Lab," she continued, "we are shifting more emphasis toward songwriting and music business as the students move forward with creating original music. Our partnership with the I'll Fly Away Foundation pairing us with young UK songwriters virtually is exciting for our current students on multiple levels, especially during this time when travel is so difficult. We are so happy to help the foundation celebrate their 10th anniversary with these workshops and look forward to much more collaboration in the future."
Emily Havens, Executive Director for GRAMMY Museum Mississippi shared her enthusiasm, “We are thrilled to partner with the I’ll Fly Away Foundation once again to make this songwriting workshop possible for young musicians around the world.”
ABOUT I'LL FLY AWAY FOUNDATION:
The song “I’ll Fly Away” was written in 1932 by Albert E Brumley and is one of the most recognized songs in the world. Albert had plans to start a music themed foundation but he died in 1977 before he could complete it. 34 years later, his granddaughter Betsy and her husband Kevin picked up the baton to fulfill Albert’s last dream. The I’ll Fly Away Foundation was founded in 2011 by husband and wife team Betsy Brumley and Kevin Bernier. The I’ll Fly Away Foundation’s mission is: We use the power of music to engage children and improve their lives. Through songwriting, our programs unlock children’s creative potential and help inspire their dreams, as we teach them to believe in themselves and in power of their creativity. The saying goes “it all starts with a song,” and we believe that song can change a life. For more information, visit illflyawayfoundation.org.
ABOUT KIRKLEES COUNCIL:
Kirklees Council has established its bold commitment to a world-class music offer, seeking to expand upon the district’s vibrant musical history and internationally renowned and innovative music scene. The Music Partnership Board exists to help enact that vision. As advocates for and supporters of the diverse community of musicians and music institutions, the board support on the development of policy and strategy, fundraising bids, formal and informal partnerships, and various programs and initiatives to deliver the district’s cultural, economic, and (mental)health/social care objectives through music with equality of access and cultural democracy at its core. For more information, visit www.musicinkirklees.co.uk.
ABOUT STAX MUSIC ACADEMY:
The Stax Music Academy is a premier afterschool and summer music institute that provides industry-centric music education combined with creative youth development programming. It is the only music institute in the world that focuses on the rich legacy of Stax Records and The Memphis Sound and how the evolution of that music can translate into the original music students are creating today. For more information, visit staxmusicacademy.org.
ABOUT GRAMMY MUSEUM MISSISSIPPI: Developed by the Cleveland Music Foundation—a nonprofit organization founded in 2011—the 28,000-square-foot GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is housed near the campus of Delta State University, home of the Delta Music Institute's Entertainment Industry Studies program, which features the most unique audio recording facilities in the South. Affiliated with the Recording Academy™, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is dedicated to exploring the past, present, and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi. The Museum features a dynamic combination of public events, educational programming, engaging multimedia presentations, and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a Mississippi-centric area that introduces visitors to the impact of Mississippi's songwriters, producers, and musicians on the traditional and modern music landscape. For more information, visit grammymuseumms.org, "like" GRAMMY Museum Mississippi on Facebook, and follow @grammymuseumms on Twitter and Instagram.