Rewriting a song in praise of Marlinton

Marlinton’s recent brush with a tragic fire which damaged many historical buildings and displaced many families has inspired the Phoenix Society to sponsor a Song Rewriting Contest. “The little town has much courage and tradition,” says Kaitlen Whitt, an Americorp volunteer with Allegheny Mountain Radio of Pocahontas County who is heading up the contest. “We are looking for a song that reminds those living in town and beyond, that this is true.”

Here is what you can do to participate. The contest is open to all songbirds. All are asked to rewrite the lyrics to Janis Ian’s “This Old Town.” This original song tells the story of a small town, much like Marlinton, which refused to quit despite multiple challenges and disasters.

Keeping the same melody of the song, write your lyrics beginning with “This Old Town,” and tell what Marlinton means to you. You may listen to the original by searching Youtube for the song. The lyrics and a recording of the song are also available on the Traveling 219 project: Seneca Trail ‘s Facebook page. Your lyrics must be submitted in writing; but if you are a singer or part of a band, you may send in a recording along with the transcript.

Contest winners will be in three areas: middle school, high school and adult categories. Each will have their submissions read on the radio, posted on the Traveling 219 website and Facebook page, printed in the Pocahontas Times and Mountain Messenger; and finally will have their submission recorded by local musicians using the original melody.

Submissions must be in by Jan. 5. Submit to whittkr@gmaiLcom, or by mail to The Phoenix Society, 819 3rd Street, Marlinton, WV 24954. You may also call Kaitlen Whitt at 304-573-6051 for any questions. Good luck and thank you!

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