The song beneath the message

Songwriters in Wood Buffalo are plucking out chords, playing with melodies and flirting with lyrics as our “Change Starts Here” songwriting contest gets underway. There is a deep wellspring of inspiration to draw from as the United Way Community Campaign touches on so many different themes: generosity, community impact, volunteerism, caring, sharing, giving, acting, to name but a few.

What is the genre that will best capture the energy, enthusiasm and importance of the “Change Starts Here” message? Country, Rap, Jazz, Rock, R & B, or Folk could all show up in the submissions.

“We’ll have a panel of judges from our promotion partners (DK Films and Campbell’s Music) assist us in selecting the three finalists who will perform live at our VIP Red Carpet Reception on November 18th at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre,” said Diane Shannon, Executive Director, United Way of Fort McMurray.

“In terms of the final decision as to what song will represent our 2015 Community Campaign, we’re going to leave it up to our VIP (Volunteers Inspiring People) guests to decide. These are the passionate volunteers from our agencies, workplace campaigns and community who are completely connected to the campaign. We want them to feel a sense of ownership about the song that embodies their efforts and sense of community and compassion.”

Change starts here
In the giving
In the living
From the north to the south
From the east to the west
Thousands of people
Doing what is best

Lyrics like these may show up in the collection of video submissions due on November 7th, words and phrases combined with music to tell the story of impact, to inspire understanding and action as we launch the 2015 Community Campaign at a big kick-off event at MacDonald Island.

Author: Russell Thomas

​Russell is a marketing and communications professional who has spent 20 years in Wood Buffalo working with the OK Radio Group, Keyano College, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, and now with The United Way of Fort McMurray. A regular blogger, Russell's writing can be seen online ( and in multiple publications. His paintings can be seen in homes and businesses throughout the community. Married to Heather and "Papa" to Dylan and Ben, Russell is a passionate spokesperson for United Way.