Friday, September 23, 2022

Raymond singer composes songs for Ukraine

By Masha Yurkevich

There is no one word to describe it, but if tried, there might be a few. Destroyed. Fear. Despair. The war in Ukraine is no secret to anyone. To us, it is far away, and it is difficult to just stand up and do something. But singer/songwriter Marilyn Redegeld Ross of Raymond has found a way.

Singer/songwriter Marilyn Redegeld Ross of
Raymond has written and recorded songs
supporting the people of Ukraine during the
invasion by Russian forces. She's hoping that
the songs will be picked up and played by
radio stations across Europe.
Redegeld, originally from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, graduated from Framingham High School. Her first instrument was the violin through the orchestra program at school. She also loved singing and joined the school chorus beginning in middle school. In high school, she was practicing the violin and singing every day and decided it was time to choose between the two.

“But before I made my formal exit from the violin after learning that the orchestra program was being canceled, I pleaded with the music director that he allow me to perform a solo in the music concert,” says Redegeld. “He was reluctant but decided that I could do it on the condition that he would give me private sessions to practice for it.”

According to Redegeld, she says that she was fortunate that her school offered music theory and that she took two semesters of it which help her in her songwriting today.

“When it was time to think about college, I had a discussion with my music teacher and he said it’s very hard to make it as a singer and that I shouldn’t expect to make money at it,” says Redegeld. “I think that is why I did not consider it my primary study in college although sometimes I wish I had gone to Berkeley College of Music in Boston.”

Redegeld continued singing and taking classical voice lessons. She was also very interested in poetry and kept a notebook of poems where she would write about life, thinking that she could turn them into songs.

“My mother played the organ and bought a synthesizer keyboard which was new technology and I taught myself to play since I could read music,” says Redegeld. “My father was a singer and formed a group to play in nursing homes for twenty years and he would have me come as a guest to play violin or sing. My aunt played the pipe organ in churches for 45 years and would invite me as guest soloist. I
also sang for weddings and was in the Heritage Choral and in the chorus at Framingham Union College and Immaculata College in Pennsylvania.” At Immaculata college, she studied violin a little more and

also took piano lessons off and on.

“My mother was very supportive raising me as a single mother paying for my violin and singing lessons all through school and driving me to lessons and taking me to concerts and Broadway shows in Boston, which I’m very grateful for,” says Redegeld.

After having a family and her four boys became adults, Redegeld had time to start focusing on her goals again. She never stopped singing and does it every day. She sings everything from opera to jazz to rock.

“Before my mother died from breast cancer, she told me she hoped all my dreams would come true. And I took that to heart,” says Redegeld. “It’s never too late to make your dreams come true. I decided if I wasn’t going to make it as a singer maybe I can make it as a songwriter and sing my own songs.”

Last fall, Redegeld began writing songs starting with lyrics, putting in a melody and then adding harmonies with chord progressions. She then began searching for other songwriters to collaborate with and found a 20-year-old college student from Brunswick named Cole Orr. In late February the unthinkable happened; Ukraine was invaded by neighboring Russia.

“I have a friend from Ukraine who has family there so I would always ask him questions,” says

Redegeld. I was very alarmed by the disturbing nature of the attack and decided to write my first song for Ukraine called ‘Heart of Ukraine.’ I then realized there are so many angles to the effects of the war on the Ukrainian people and decided I needed to write more songs. So I wrote With the Light of Love which is about Ukrainians fighting for the right reasons: to defend their people, their country and their freedom and that the light of love - God and heaven - is watching over them.”

In collaboration with co-writer Orr, she also wrote “Up So High,” a song for President Volodymyr Zelensky and all the Ukrainian defenders that they will rise up and go down in history. Orr also teamed up with Redegeld on two other songs so far: “The Essence of You” and “Only Heaven Knows.”

All these songs and more can be found on Redegeld’s YouTube channel, Marilyn Redegeld Ross.

After several sessions in the recording studio, the songs are getting ready to be formally released.

“I played the synthesizer/keyboard for two of the songs, ‘Heart of Ukraine’ and ‘With the Light of Love,’” says Redegeld. “I also envisioned a cello playing in these two songs and was fortunate to find master cellist Ben Noyes to add his magic to them.”

Redegeld has two more songs for Ukraine. One is called “Back For You” about President Zelensky telling his wife that she needs to be safe and stay away from the war as he promises that he will be back for her when it is over. The other one is called “War Criminal” and one other ready to go to the studio.

“I feel like my songs are a gift to the Ukrainian people from God and I am the instrument to get it to them. It’s sad that I need the war to continue in order for people to be interested in my songs, but I think the war has gone on long enough that the songs have real meaning to a lot of people,” says Redegeld. “My challenge now is getting this music to them and continuing my mission and finish my songs for Ukraine in the recording studio. Ukrainians are beautiful people who just want to live free and have a quality of life like we enjoy here. They have suffered and witnessed unimaginable horrors that seem unthinkable today. I will continue to support Ukraine until the war is over. As my ancestors are from Europe and Finland, it’s the least I can do for my fellow humans.” <


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