September 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm EDT | by David J. Hoffman
Changing the world through a song

(L-R) Peter Fox, Dave Mallory and Tom Nichols are selling a song for AIDS Walk. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

There’s a new song about to echo in your mind as a lyric of memory, love and hope and a call to renewed action for this year’s AIDS Walk Washington on Oct.2.

The original song, “Change The World,” sung by Peter Fox is an infectious blend of driving backbeat and rousing anthem, with Fox’s heartfelt tenor over the rhythmic orchestration carrying moments both tender and exhortative.

“Our message is simple,” declares singer-songwriter Tom Nichols, the song’s producer as well as co-author with Fox and Holly Montgomery, all area recording artists.  “First, download the song. Second, come to the performance. Then, join the AIDS Walk.”

The song is released nationwide today, available for $1.29 here. For one month, through Oct. 23, Fox has pledged to donate 75 cents for each download sale to Whitman-Walker Clinic, sponsor of the AIDS Walk. The song can also be found via the Whitman-Walker Clinic website.

Fox and Nichols, longtime members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, along with Montgomery, took several weeks to compose the piece as a “commemorative song dedicated to the AIDS Walk, and an inspirational anthem for everyone touched by life-challenging illness,” said Fox, who said he hopes it will prove “a major fundraising success for the Clinic.”

“Could we sell 15,000 copies?” Fox asked, in an interview with the Blade. “Very possibly. But then, why not aim for 30,000 copies,” he added. “So, 30,000 is the goal.”

Fox added that in the song they have deliberately “left plenty of space for each person’s heart to fill in the story.”

“Letters unwritten,” the song begins, “love songs unsung, alone in a memory at a table for one.”

“Too many goodbyes … too many gone … So many souls cry in the hours before dawn.”

Those lost to AIDS are recalled with the memory that each of them — especially the one being recalled — were going to “change the world with their song … and with their light,” and the song’s powerful emotions crest in a salute to those lost:

“Now you’re the star I wish on every night … shining down leading the fight!”

Their song is personal for so many people, said Nichols, who noted that he “lost his best friend at 30 to AIDS,”  adding that “yes there’s sadness in the song, but Peter was insistent that this song not be maudlin, that we should touch on the loss but not dwell on it, but instead be redemptive.”

Fox will present the first live performance of the song at about 8:45 a.m. at the opening ceremonies of the AIDS Walk, which begins at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 2 at Freedom Plaza, on Pennsylvania Avenue between 13th and 14th streets. In addition to Fox, the Gay Men’s Chorus and the DC Cowboys are also scheduled to perform in the ceremony, and panels — such as one for Max Robinson, former ABC TV news anchor and D.C. resident — from the Names Project, also known as the “AIDS Quilt” will be displayed inside a big tent on the plaza. Actress Lynda Carter is the AIDS Walk grand marshal.

The walk begins after the opening ceremony, starting with a timed run, and according to AIDS Walk Washington director David Mallory, 1,500 runners are expected for the route that will go down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol and then loop around and return to Freedom Plaza. Then at 9:15 a.m. the walkers will begin to move out with some 8,500 expected for the 5K route. Both runners and walkers are doing so with pledges of donations to the Whitman-Walker Clinic. Setting the theme for this year’s event is a huge banner at the Clinic’s 14th Street location, declaring simply, “Walk with Courage, Walk with Hope.”

For more details or to register for the timed run or the walk, go here or call 202-332-WALK.

1 Comment
  • I have really mixed feelings about AIDS Walk. It’s an exclusive fundraiser for Whitman Walker, which has had a mixed record on serving our community. I don’t think most people think about where the money goes, they just think they want to do something to help with AIDS…but there are a lot of other AIDS charities in the city besides Whitman Walker that people should consider donating to.

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