NASHVILLE, TN — The Red Shield Day Camp is gearing up for the biggest event of their summer experience. All summer the campers have been learning to write their own original songs and have been practicing for weeks to perfect them. Earlier this week, (July 16th) kids from 6 to 13 entered Ocean Way Studios on Music Row to record an original album. Angela McCrary, Music Director, says “This activity is always one of the kids favorites. They work so hard during the first 6 weeks of camp to learn the building blocks of music, and then begin writing and practicing their own original songs. Add to that, the chance to experience how professional musicians record their music, it is something our campers will carry with them forever.” This is the 4th original album for the Salvation Army Red Shield Kids Day Camp, thanks to a partnership with the Ocean Way Studios and the CMA Foundation.
Realizing some campers may not feel comfortable performing, McCrary has others using their artistic talents to create artwork for the CD cover. They submit multiple pieces that are reviewed and combined to create each year’s custom art. Each year has a different theme and is unique to that summer’s campers.
None of this would be possible without the CMA Foundation getting behind the shield with generous grant support in 2015. The grant provided for the staffing, instruments, and equipment needed to create a completely new music program from the ground up. Many of the youth who attend the Red Shield year-round are considered “at-risk”. They are now being given the opportunity to experience artistic expression in a way that was not available to them before, while also teaching providing a skill that can lead to better opportunities for their future if they find it to be something they are passionate about. One former camper, Jahnae, was introduced to writing and singing songs through the Red Shield Kids Club Day Camp program. Having never been exposed to live music, she had no idea the her gift was just waiting inside to burst free. She used her voice as a spring board to a better education being accepted to I.T. Crestwell Arts Magnet School in 2017/18.