The Songs of Love foundation have helped 21,000 kids and counting.
By YVONNE BELTZER
John Beltzer, the founder of the Songs of Love Foundation came to Santa Monica this weekend to co-create a song for 10-year-old leukemia patient, Kylie Becker, who is undergoing treatment at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.
He enlisted the talents of country singer Nathan Osmond (yes, of that Osmond family) and lyricist Tony Asher, the co-writer of the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds.”
Beltzer founded Songs of Love in 1996, a dozen years after his twin brother Julio committed suicide.
Just before his death, Julio had written a piece called “Songs of Love” which included the lines: “Songs of love are really what we need to take away our fear, and make the best of love.”
These lines inspired Beltzer, a musician and songwriter, to create songs for sick children. He called it a simple, but powerful concept, which he then turned into the Songs of Love Foundation.
Since then, he’s written thousands of songs, each one dedicated to an individual child in need of a boost.
The song he co-wrote this weekend for Kylie with Osmond and Asher was the organization’s 21,000th song. The Songs of Love Foundation has a staff of 12 people — including Beltzer — and about 200 freelance songwriters.
While he and Nathan strummed out a melody, Asher worked on the words.
Usually, a doctor or a parent or a relative contacts Songs of Love and provides information that describes the child, her pets, her toys, her likes and her musical preferences.
Kylie was a country music fan. So they crafted a song that could have come out of the Nashville playbook:
Kylie’s happy as she can be
With marbles, Gameboy, Nintendo Wii
She’s got a beautiful smile you just got to see
She is dreaming of super-sized
Dr. Pepper and chili fries
A big old bowl of spaghetti lights up her eyes
Listening to country music gives her a lift
Carrie Underwood, and Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift
Everybody loves Kylie Becker
Her friends and her neighbors and everybody she knows
Her brother Corey, her sister Sarah
And her Mom and Dad love watching her as she grows
Sara, Meagan, Krystal are her best friends
They share the kind of love that never ends
They’re having wonderful times again and again
Waddles the penguin’s her joy and pride
Anywhere she goes he is by her side
You couldn’t keep them apart even if you tried
She really loves to watch the wrestlers fly
And her favorite show is the “Family Guy”
Mr. Kitty, Jack, Stacy and Snoopy
They got the right stuff
And Kylie may be tiny but she’s tough
Each song costs the foundation about $250 to make and the demand continues to rise. To pay for the costs, the foundation accepts donations, both in dollars and used cars.
The real payoff for Beltzer seems to be in the difference the songs make in the children’s lives and in the lives of those people who love them.
For more information about Songs of Love, check out the foundation’s website, songsoflove.org, or follow them on Facebook.
Editor’s Note: John Beltzer has no relation to the author of this article, Yvonne Beltzer.
First Published: May 24, 2010 11:28 AM PDT