What is the Songbook Project?
Many of us have heard the story of how Harry Ruggles, the fifth person to become a Rotarian, headed off a tense situation during a Rotary meeting by jumping on a chair and crying out, “OK, boys, let’s all sing Let Me Call Your Sweetheart!” And so began the tradition of singing at Rotary meetings.
Throughout the years, IFRM has published various songbooks for Rotarians to use. In the late 1990’s, the “blue” songbook entitled Songs for the Rotary Club: Words and Music was compiled as an IFRM Community Service Project. Until recently, Rotary International sold this songbook through its bookstore.
However, the Rotary world has changed significantly in the past three decades; most significantly, the explosion of a global technology brings us in instant communication with our fellow Rotarians around the world. We are learning more about differing values, languages, and cultures. There is a call for a revised songbook that is more representative of our diverse membership; one that is inclusive, modern, and more reflective of world cultures beyond those of North America.
How Can I Get Involved?
We have heard your voice and your call for a revised Songbook that includes the songs that you might like to sing at your Rotary get-togethers. We are now reaching out for songs that inspire Rotary’s value of Service Above Self. This is a grassroots effort to publish those songs that are familiar in your culture, whether they are patriotic, modern, or ones that you learned as a child at home or in school. Of course, we also welcome original compositions or pieces that you have adapted to a well-known tune.
Please submit the song title, a list of songs, or a musical score and lyrics.
Include your name, e-mail address and country with your submission
Send submissions to songbook@IFRM.org by June 1, 2021.
The IFRM Vetting Committee will choose selections based on availability (is there a score? Can we get rights to publish?), relevance (does it build upon and reflect Rotary values?) and universality (do people know it and has it been part of the history of a culture?).
We are hopeful that we will unveil our new expanded, inclusive songbook online at the Rotary International Convention in Houston, Texas, USA in 2022.