A Song to Celebrate 73 Years of Marriage


It started with an open call for submissions to Green Shoe Studio’s songwriting contest. Fred Stobaugh caught the contest in his local paper about six weeks after his wife of 73 years died, and was drawn to submit a song he’d written celebrating all the years they cherished together.

Fred’s submission was different from any of the other entries in the contest. He’s not a musician, and unlike most of the other submissions, it wasn’t sent in as an audio or video recording. It was a plain manilla envelope with his lyrics for “Sweet Lorraine.”

So touched by the entry, the studio producer, Jacob Colgan, contacted Fred to tell him the studio wanted to set his lyrics to professional music. Fred was very pleased but mentioned he didn’t have the money to pay for the production. Not to worry; Jacob “wanted to bring his lyrics to life.” The studio would cover the costs.

The outcome has been phenomenal. The video of Fred and Jacob’s collaboration has been viewed over five million times, Fred’s story has been featured on hundreds of news programs including ABC’s World News Tonight, and the song shot to #1 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter category the first week it was out. Every purchase of the song financially helps Fred and his family.

But the true comfort for Fred is simply recording the song—a loving tribute to the woman with whom he shared 73 years. He and his wife both had a love of music, and writing the lyrics helped him channel the sadness of losing her into a song. In an interview with WMBD Fred said, “The song really helps me. It really helps me. It just seemed like she’s just sort of with me. Which I know she’s smiling, she’s smiling down and she likes that song, I know.”

Has music helped you grieve the death of a loved one? Please share your story in the comments section below.

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