Hobbies Don't Have to End When Summer Ends - as Proven by Camper Molly Handelman
There’s a Beber Camp song that says “there’s possibilities down to the very last hour, cuz it still ain’t over yet.”
Well that is certainly true, but in the true spirit of the Beber credo “All Summer, All Year, All Life,” those possibilities do not necessarily end even after that last hour has passed.
Molly Handelman signed up for the Songwriting hobby on the very last week of camp. She was the only camper in the hobby, and myself and our Teen Leadership director Alex Pomerantz (himself a former camper in the music hobbies!) were her guides for this hobby.
As it turned out Molly had been writing songs on her own – lyrics and melodies – and as we started working through some of her ideas and writing, she revealed to us a dream of hers – that she could record a song to sell online to support her Beber Bat Mitzvah project – she’d chosen to raise money to donate to the camp scholarship fund.
She voiced this dream as if it was not attainable – just a dream. But we let her know right away that her dream was absolutely a possibility. We only had 3 hobby days left, so we got right down to work.
She showed us a song called "Tell Me" that she had started, and we immediately recorded a chorus for the song – with drums, guitars, vocals, everything. It sounded fantastic, and we knew we were off and running.
By the time the last hobby rolled around, she had most of the lyrics written, and we’d worked through most of the chord changes, but we hadn’t really recorded anything except one chorus idea.
On the last night of Family Camp, myself and Alex exhaustedly dragged ourselves into the studio so that he could play through the whole song on acoustic guitar one time. We recorded it at about midnight on the night before we left camp (talk about the very last hour!) and I walked away from camp with just a guitar part recorded.
Over the next 4 months, I started working on the arrangement of the other instruments. I laid down a drum machine to get an idea for a drum pattern, put down a bass track, and then had my friend and former Beber counselor Josh Lee (summer of 1998) put down a keyboard track, since he happened to be visiting me in LA.
I sent the song over to former camper and current drummer in the band Tweedy, Spencer Tweedy, and asked him if he could lay down drums on the song at his studio in Chicago, and explained the charitable nature of it. He said sure, and did an amazing job, sent me the files back to LA, and I then played electric guitars and other keyboards on top of his drums.
Then I laid down a scratch vocal of me singing Molly’s parts, so she could remember how they went, and then once again sent the track back out to Chicago to Alex, so he could go over to Molly’s house with a microphone and have her sing the song.
Two vocal sessions later, she had sung brilliantly, the files were sent BACK to me once again, and I did a final mix and master on the song.
And now here we are over 4 months after camp ended, and this song that started out as a tiny idea in a hobby is now online on BandCamp.com for sale, with every dollar raised benefiting the Beber Camp scholarship fund - so that no child is denied a camp experience for lack of financial ability.
As for the song itself, it’s fantastic, she wrote a great song, catchy melodies, and sang it so passionately you can hear her conviction coming right out of the speakers at you.
What I like most about it is that when she decided to write a song to raise money for camp, she didn’t do what most people would do, which is write lyrics that have to do with camp, charity, or her bat mitzvah. She did what a real artist would do, and simply wrote and recorded a song that was meaningful to her, with lyrics that have a universal message and appeal, and decided that’s what she wanted to share with the world for her debut as a recording artist.
When you produce a song, you listen to it literally hundreds of times. Now I hope YOU will download it, pay what you can ($1 or more,) and listen to it just as many times as I have, because it’s worth it.
So thank you to Molly and her family for seeing this through, thank you to the musicians who donated their time and talent, and thank YOU for reading this, and listening to the song. https://mollyhandelman.bandcamp.com/releases to hear and download.
Russell Wiener -- Music Director, Beber Camp