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Singer-Songwriter Sarah Pirtle Composes “Hands Across the Hills” Theme Song

Famed singer and songwriter Sarah Pirtle, longtime Pioneer Valley resident, composed the song “Hands Across the Hills” expressly for the Leverett MA-Letcher County KY project. At the dialogue session where Leverett and Kentucky folks gathered for the first time on Friday morning, October 27, Sarah led us all in her song, which brought many of us to tears of hope.

The next day at the public Community Forum held at the Leverett Elementary School, Sarah and Kentuckian Gwen Johnson sang our song together to the audience of over two hundred, inviting everyone to join in the chorus. Again the response to this song was emotional, touching the hearts of those gathered.

How did our song come about? Back in September 2017, invited to attend a planning meeting for the Hands Across the Hills cultural exchange weekend, Sarah sat beside Bridging group members as they planned the potluck meals, logistics for venues, home-stays for our Kentucky guests—all the myriad details to pull off a successful three-day event for over thirty participants. After an hour, Sarah had drafted “Hands Across the Hills” and she sang it to us. We were genuinely thrilled--Sarah captured our great anticipation for the Kentucky visit and our hope that we would all join hearts.

Throughout her career Sarah Pirtle has performed and has recorded many CD’s, among them Everyday Bravery, Two Hands Hold the Earth, and Heart of the World. She has received the Magic Penny Award for Lifetime Achievement as a musician. The “Hope Sings” section of her website has 50 of her songs of inspiration, including “Hands Across the Hills,” all of which can be downloaded for free.

Sarah’s book Outbreak of Peace won the Olive Branch Award for outstanding book of the year on world peace. She is a national expert in teaching children social skills through the arts. For 25 years she has directed the Journey Camp for children held at Woolman Hill in Deerfield MA, which emphasizes that: “We aren’t just on earth. We are part of the earth creating and growing.”

Photo of Sarah Pirtle with Gwen Johnson by Roswell Angier

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