SINGER VISITS FAMILY OF MARINE RECRUIT
By Chandra Broadwater
It was meant to be.
When New York City singer Renée Snyder saw the infamous video of Jason Tharp on the news, she felt an immediate connection.
As she heard and read more about him and the reason why he ended up as a
Marine recruit at Parris Island, SC., his death continued to touch her deeply.
“I have a son that looks a lot like Jason, tall and lanky,” Snyder said. “And under different circumstances, that could have been him.”
“Though the military is a wonderful option for many people, it’s a
different story when it’s the only option,” she said. “That’s when a person can
end up in a place they shouldn’t be.”
Jason joined the Marines as a steppingstone to art school. He drowned
February 8, on the last day of water-survival training at the island.
Snyder contacted Brenda Gibson, a Braxton County High School teacher
who’s been in charge of efforts to start a scholarship fund in Jason’s name.
Together, over the phone and by e-mail, the two have been orchestrating plans to
to get the fund up and running.
Along with donations of her own, the singer plans to give all proceeds of
her album “Once in a Lifetime” to the scholarship. A song, “Carry On,” has
been dedicated to Jason.
During the weekend, Snyder came to West Virginia to meet Gibson and
Jason’s parents, Johnny and Linda Tharp. They had dinner together Saturday, and
met Sunday for a meeting to discuss the logistics of creating a scholarship fund.
Snyder also signed copies of her CD at a play in Sutton on Saturday
Today, she will visit the high school.
Johnny Tharp said his family takes the slow and heavy depression of
Jason’s death one day at a time. He wears the “I(heart)NY” hat Jason got him
everywhere he goes.
“We’re still waiting for answers,” he said.
The investigations into Jason’s death are not complete. Seven drill
instructors from his platoon have been suspended until officials determine what
Members of the platoon told investigators the instructors used improper
physical conduct at some point during training, according to The Associated
Press. But there was no reason to believe that the actions were related to
Jason’s death, a Marine official said.
“I think the more we can help get someone else to college, so that they
have a choice, then they won’t have to join the armed services to get to
school,” Johnny Tharp
said. "We just can’t thank Renée enough for what she’s doing.”
"The whole family loves “Carry On,” Linda said. Johnny cries every time
he hears the soft, uplifting song about death.
“She’s a remarkable lady,” she said. "We’re overwhelmed with what she’s
done and still doing.”
This year, the hope is that a student will receive a $1,000 scholarship
from the fund, Snyder said. Later, when more money accrues, it will become a
fully funded ticket to higher education.
“It will start with one kid getting to school with the fund, and giving
someone an option,” Snyder said. “I don’t exactly know the reason why this
all happened. It was just something meant to be.”
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Peeky Toe Music is proud
to announce the release of Once In A Lifetime, the debut recording by
the extraordinary singer/songwriter Renée
Snyder. Devoted to music since she began playing the piano at five years
old, Renée has worked extensively on the New York studio scene
alongside so many excellent musicians, including Barry Miles, Shawn Pelton,
Mark Egan, Kevin Bents and her husband, guitarist/composer Craig Snyder.
Together, these fine artists provide the core support for Renée
on this highly compelling and truly exquisite recording.
Each of the eleven captivating original songs on Once In A Lifetime
is like a precious gem - honed, shaped and placed by a master jeweler
in a setting that allows each one to shine on its own while contributing
to the overall beauty of the piece. Blessed with an incredibly beautiful
voice, its purity and warmth calls to mind one of Renée's primary
influences, the legendary Joan Baez. And further like Baez, Renée's
songs are soulful, intelligent and extremely personal, expressing sentiments
that reflect her own experiences, but will resonate with everyone.
The exceptional arrangements - nine by Craig (two co-arranged with Barry
Miles) and the other two by Kevin Bents - are quite tasteful and sensitive,
never overpowering and always enhancing, like a fine couturier designing
gowns for a beautiful woman. Brilliant little touches featuring outstanding
guest musicians add a special magic -- Kenny Kosek's haunting violin
on the plaintive title track; Jeanne LeBlanc's cello on the beautiful
love song When I Sing My Song; Eric Weisberg's pedal steel guitar on
the powerfully moving album closer Home Is In Your Arms; and Rob Paparozzi's
harmonica on the evocative When Will We Learn. The occasional and subtle
use of background vocals and overdubs further enhances the music in a
most appropriate manner. Throughout the album the superb musicianship
provides the perfect setting for Renée's delightful voice, embracing
it lovingly to present it in its pure and vivid essence.
Renée's abundant songwriting talent displays enormous insight
and remarkable perception, while covering a wide range of moods and emotions,
from jazzy and rhythmic to deeply sensual and reflective.
There's a Difference opens the album with deliciously grooved, infectious
rhythms and a nicely syncopated vocal. In a similar vein, Always is somewhat
modal, providing a perfect setting for Renée's sinuous, snake-like
Without You In My Life is a country-ish love song that displays Renée's
range with Craig's guitar contributing to the stylistic setting with
pedal steel effects. Carry On, a nicely rhythmic, folk-like song is a
celebratory, uplifting and hopeful exaltation.
The two Kevin Bents-arranged songs are both quite sensual and lovely.
Dreams - with Bents playing all instruments and joining Renée
on background vocals - is appropriately dreamy, with a bolero-ish rhythmic
structure that builds with gentle intensity to its conclusion. Learning
To Love is a full-bodied ballad with nicely suspended rhythms providing
the canvas for its beautifully etched lyricism.
One track in particular epitomizes Renée's musical and emotional
sensibilities. You Begin Again, with solo piano accompaniment by Barry
Miles, is a powerfully affecting and highly expressive ballad, exquisitely
crafted and deeply emotional. Dedicated to her mother, a holocaust survivor,
it's a heart-wrenching song of hope and rebirth. Understanding this aspect
of her heritage provides an insight into the personal nature of this
most special artist.
With perceptive and profound lyrics, beautiful melodies and incredible
artistry, Once In A Lifetime is a powerful and dynamic debut for a truly
extraordinary singer and songwriter.
For media inquiries:
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