September 2019 - "Colors"
Since 1979, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has helped students tell their stories through its innovative Words & Music program. More than 100,000 students have learned to write song lyrics while developing key skills in language arts. Words & Music also provides classroom teachers with new resources, tools, and techniques that get students excited about writing. The foundation of the program is the Words & Music Teacher’s Guide, a ten-lesson unit that educators use to guide their students through a step-by-step lyric-writing process. Not only does Words & Music teach core curriculum, but it also connects young people to Nashville’s music community, pairing classes with songwriters who transform student lyrics into finished songs that are performed in an interactive workshop. David Schnaufer was one of the artists who participated in that program. In 1991, he was paired with Sharina Smith and Kelli Wiggins, 2 students from one of Nashville’s public middle schools who had written a set of lyrics for a song they titled “Colors”. During their workshop sessions together, David brought his dulcimer, and walked them through the process of coming up with the music, both melody and chords, to fit their lyrics. David was so excited about the end result that he decided to record the tune. The 2 students were thrilled to find their names included as songwriters when the tune was published, which also guaranteed them an equal share of any royalties that the song earns. The song was first released on David’s 1992 recording “Dulcimer Sessions”.
David played this tune in a finger-picked style, arpeggiating the chords on the longer held notes. Here is a link to a YouTube video of the original 1992 recording, with Nashville singer Toni Price providing the vocals: