For Immediate Release
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Willow Ann Sirch
The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp
(203) 772-0522 x23
Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Kicks Off 25th Anniversary with Song and Music Video
Prolific Singer/Songwriter Natalie Merchant Teams with Producer/Director McG and The Hole in the Wall Gang Campers for a “Wonder” Sing-A-Long
NEW HAVEN, CONN., OCT 10, 2012 – The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, founded by Paul Newman, has released an inspiring song and music video to kick off its 25th anniversary as a hideout where seriously ill kids can simply be kids.
Natalie Merchant, one of America's most respected recording artists, created a new sing-a-long version of her iconic song "Wonder" and recorded it at the Camp in Ashford, Conn. this past summer with the campers. McG, the acclaimed Hollywood director and producer, was on hand to film the recording and capture the different kind of healing that the Camp provides. In the music video, Merchant leads the kids in song interspersed with clips of the late Paul Newman and the campers sharing what the Camp means to them.
"Natalie Merchant has given us a great gift with this song," said James H. Canton, the Camp’s Chief Executive Officer. "And McG’s music video is a beautiful snapshot of our mission: to give these kids so much love and acceptance that they leave Camp with a smile, knowing how beautiful and special they are. It is a powerful, moving and uplifting tribute as we begin our 25th anniversary and we can't thank Natalie Merchant and McG enough for capturing Paul’s dream so beautifully."
"Wonder" was written by Natalie Merchant for her first solo album "Tigerlily." The song, released as a single in 1996, reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Its lyrics contain the refrain, "They say I must be one of the wonders" and were inspired by Merchant’s own experience meeting twin sisters coping with a congenital disease. Merchant was struck by how positive the girls were as they faced significant challenges, thanks to an inner strength that she attributed to the love and support of their family and friends.
"Paul Newman was a visionary and I feel extremely honored that I was asked to be part of this celebration. The work the Camp does is phenomenal," Natalie Merchant said. "For years, I've been told by parents of kids with special needs and medical staff and children themselves that 'Wonder' has become an anthem for sick kids. So I know the healing power of the song. I am delighted to add my voice to all the love, camaraderie and sharing that goes on at Camp. Paul really did it so well. The Camp is a magical place."
The song and music video are available at www.holeinthewallgang.org. Grey New York, which serves as the Camp's pro bono communications agency, provided production and marketing assistance.
About Natalie Merchant
Natalie Merchant began her three-decade musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the pop music band 10,000 Maniacs, releasing two platinum and four gold records. They created the first wave of alternative rock bands and what became known as the alternative rock format on FM radio. Merchant began her solo career with "Tigerlily" and went on to release "Ophelia," "Natalie Merchant Live," "Motherland," "The House Carpenter's Daughter," "Retrospective," "Campfire Songs" drawn from her former band and her latest highly-acclaimed "Leave Your Sleep." The renowned singer-songwriter has embarked on a new artistic path, creating songs from literary inspiration, and bringing her captivating performing style to symphony orchestras and expanded musical ensembles.
McG has built his Wonderland motion picture company into a multifaceted media entity providing film, television, music and new media content for today's digital age. McG has directed such Hollywood blockbusters as "Charlie's Angels," "Terminator: Salvation," "We Are Marshall," and most recently "This Means War." He has produced numerous successful films and television shows including "The O.C." and "Human Target" for FOX, "Supernatural" for the CW, "Chuck" for NBC, and the feature film thriller "Stay Alive" for the Walt Disney Company. He began his career directing immensely popular campaigns for The Gap and Coca Cola. He also directed over 50 music videos for artists ranging from Sublime to Wyclef Jean, selling over 100 million albums worldwide.
About the Camp's 25th Anniversary
In 1988, Paul Newman opened The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut so that children coping with serious illnesses could have a special hideout where they could simply be kids. The Camp, which served 288 campers its first year, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012-13 with 20,000 children and family members now experiencing “a different kind of healing” annually. Each year, 2,500 are served onsite and 19,000 visits by the Hospital Outreach Program bring the fun and friendship of Camp into more than 20 sites throughout the Northeast – all free of charge. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is celebrating this milestone with events and initiatives that will gather the Camp family together and invite new friends to support Paul Newman’s dream. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, founded by Paul Newman, has released an inspiring song and music video to kick off its 25th anniversary as a hideout where seriously ill kids can simply be kids.