CULTURE- BUZZBOX- Song sharers: Making music a community service

Greg Morgoglione has led the local non-profit organization SongSharing in its musical and civic efforts for more than a decade, and late this year he finally brought it to critical mass. SongSharing's first album came out in September, and this month he'll finally get around to promoting its release with a series of shows around town.

SongSharing started in 1994 under the name Songs For Seniors, which was essentially just a name for Morgoglione's own volunteer performances at area nursing homes. Over the years, he added more "venues," and other area performers signed on to help him cover more ground. Within a few years, SongSharing was periodically conducting socially conscious concerts everywhere from Live Arts to Region Ten and the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center.

Morgoglione has long sought to reward SongSharing's volunteer musicians with recording  opportunities, and since he was gearing up for an album of his own, he just redirected those efforts. The CD features SongSharing staples like Tom Proutt, Emily McCormick, the  Rusticators, and Thomas Gunn covering Morgoglione's tunes– an unorthodox approach  befitting the unique organization. Morgoglione is already looking toward the second installment of the project, in which he hopes to repeat the formula with Gunn's compositions.

"I had several people say that compilation CDs are the hardest thing to sell," says Morgoglione. "It really was driven by the fact that this CD was there; I was already putting it together."

That's also why he funded it himself, even though it was no longer a personal artistic venture.

"That's how non-profit organizations work, to a large degree– the donations of people who trust in what the organization is doing," he shrugs. "I made a donation to the organization for the production costs of the CD. If I get my money back, that'd be great, but that's not what it's about."

The disc also features a few other musicians who are staples on the local scene, if not on the SongSharing roster.  

"There's a good handful of local, arguably hot-doggy musicians–  Ian Gilliam, Charlie Bell, Nate Brown, Richelle Claiborne," says Morgoglione. He hopes having the CD in circulation will help close the gap between the two groups.

In addition, Morgoglione has orchestrated the project to be a fundraiser for area community  radio stations like WTJU, WMRA, WNRN, and WVTF.

"We're going to take $2 from every CDs we sell between Thanksgiving and New Year's and share the money among the four stations," he says.

All this despite the fact that as an underfunded non-profit organization, SongSharing still  has plenty of its own financial battles to fight?

"It makes sense to me," says Morgoglione. "It works with our mission, which is to promote music in community service. That's what community radio stations are about."

Emily McCormick and Tom Proutt