Lyndale Elementary's birth of a school song - Dallas News |

The birth of a school song

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The kids at Lyndale Elementary in Minneapolis The kids at Lyndale Elementary in Minneapolis

Time is funny, in that there are things that last and there are things that happen in an instant.

Sometime they're the same thing.

That's how a moment in the middle of the night became Linda Madsen's last few months. The Lyndale Elementary School substitute teacher took what popped into her head and turned it into something that may be monumental.

"I just couldn't sleep," Madsen said. "I was tossing and turning and this thing in my head -- I had this song…I don't write music. Maybe it's the one song that I'll ever write."

Madsen grew up musical and studied it in college with plans to be a music teacher. But she wound up like so many moms, focusing on being one -- building a life in a century-old home that reflects her values – things with character that last.

At Lyndale Elementary, where her two daughters attend, she found herself often at home in one of the classrooms as a several times per week sub.

"Such a life-changing place for our family," she said. "It's kind of a magical school I think."

At Lyndale, Madsen discovered there was something the school wanted. Lyndale had tried before to get a school song, but one never stuck.

Assistant Principal Renee James knows that a song can make an impact.

"We were our first graduating class from high school, so we actually had a part in composing the song," James said. "Now I can't remember the song, but I remember the event."

Madsen knew they wanted one, and could relate to why.

"It just occurred to me growing up, we had a school song and we had a city song, and I can sing them both for you immediately because we sang them at everything," she said.

And suddenly, she had that middle-of-the-night moment when an idea arrived – fully formed.

"I actually tried to go back to bed after I wrote the words down, then I realized there was actually a tune in there too," she said.

The song was so fully-formed, she didn't get around to putting it into sheet music form for weeks, after she was already well into teaching it to the school.

The teachers and staff took a little effort. The kids not nearly as much. And for Sandy Rader, retiring as music teacher, this has been a great way to go out.

"The kids right below me, whenever I play it on the piano for the class here, there's a kindergarten class down there -- every time they hear the piano, they all start singing, no matter what they do," Rader said.

A song may just be words and notes on a page, but music is in the heart and the soul. And the best ones define and unite.

The best ones last forever.

Even those born in a moment.

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