There’s a good chance that you’ve attended a wedding during which “Wedding Song (There Is Love)” was played. For the AARP crowd they’ll probably recall hearing it for the first time in early 1970s. Written by Noel Paul Stookey, a year later the song rose to even greater popularity when British songbird Petula Clark recorded it.
Interestingly, the song was first performed by Stookey when he was best man at his friend Peter Yarrow‘s wedding to the niece of presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy in 1969. While the marriage didn’t last, the song became world famous. In 1971 Stookey even signed over the song’s royalties to Public Domain Foundation, resulting in millions of dollars benefiting charitable organizations all over the United States—from soup kitchens for the homeless to research into computer interaction for hospitalized kids.
If those names don’t sound familiar, try Peter, Paul and Mary [Travers]. The trio was part of the American folk song landscape in the 1960s when coffeehouses were the “hip” places to congregate and the anti-war movement was underway. During that time their hits included “Lemon Tree,” “500 Miles,” “If I Had A Hammer,” “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” “Leaving On A Jet Plane” and “Puff The Magic Dragon.”
In the 1970s they opted to develop their separate careers but still stayed in touch and occasionally came together for a reunion tour. But that all ended with the death of Mary in 2009.
In the meantime, Paul, who goes by his first name Noel nowadays, continued to expand his talents and philanthropy beyond the studio and concert venues. He saw music as more than just audio enjoyment. In 1986 he was part of the team that created the Hugworks program using original musical compositions as music therapy to address the special needs of children.
Over the years the leaders of Hugworks and North Texas’ KidLinks realized that their partnership could be strengthened with Hugworks’ resources and talent and KidLinks’ business and financial acumen. As a result, such North Texas organizations as Bryan’s House, Children’s Health, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and Metrocare Services have benefited from the music therapy programs.
On the evening of Friday, April 1, KidLinks will hold a 40th Anniversary Kick-Off Concert in a private home on Swiss Avenue with KidLinks Artistic Advisor Emeritus Noel performing as well some KidLinks team members.
Also on hand will be his Hugswork partners Founder/Program Director Jim Newton and Senior Producer Paul G. Hill, who along with Noel will tell how Hugswork and KidLinks got together.
Tickets are going for $40. But they’re also going quickly due to limited space.