Fundraiser CD features track composed by former resident

February 04, 2007|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

Mike Conrad, 35, hopes that, if anything, at least one song will offer hope to women and children suffering in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Conrad, a former Hagerstown resident and third-year student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, contributed to a compilation CD titled "We Are All Connected: Berklee College of Music Reaches Out to the Women of Darfur."

All of the money generated from sale of the CD will go to Mercy Corps, said school spokeswoman Margot Edwards. Mercy Corps is an international aid organization that has been providing aid to people in Darfur.

"We Are All Connected" features songs written by 18 Berklee students who won a songwriting contest in the spring of 2005. The winners were gleaned from about 40 entries, Edwards said.


The album was released during the 2006 holiday season, Edwards said.

Conrad's song, "Side by Side," is No. 7 on the 18-track album.

Conrad said the song is intentionally upbeat, featuring sound clips of laughing women and singing children. Lead vocalist Carol Souki, who sings in Arabic (one of the major languages in the region), repeats the lyrics "Sing with me/stand with me/so that we can create world peace" throughout the song.

"I know the situation is very bleak, but to hear children singing, that is what I wanted to focus on," Conrad said.

The song's feel-good tone contrasts with the sad reality faced by those living in Darfur. UN officials estimate that more than 400,000 people have died and 2 million more have been driven from their homes during four years of fighting among the Sudanese government, allied militias and rebel forces.

When asked what women and children in Darfur might feel after listening to his song, Conrad said, "I think, simply hope."

Art Space - an occasional Sunday feature - highlights accomplishments of area residents. To enter the Art Space, send a basic press release with a copy of your book or music to Art Space, Lifestyle, The Herald-Mail Co., P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

Hear it for yourself

Hear "Side by Side," a song composed by former Hagerstown resident Mike Conrad, 35, at The song is featured on the album "We Are All Connected: Berklee College of Music Reaches Out to the Women of Darfur," a fundraiser to help humanitarian efforts in Darfur, Sudan.

The CD is available for $9.99 at

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