I have been inspired to write about Benjamin Wagner and his passionate pursuits several times in the past. If you have not had a chance to read this post or the one that followed, please click on the links and take a minute to get a bit more background on Benjamin.
In my first post back in July of 2008, I explained how I found Benjamin online through a piece he had written about Fred Rogers who is better known by most people as ” Mister Rogers.”
What I didn’t say was that I actually introduced myself to Benjamin through an email more than a year earlier in May 2007 when I wrote to him and said among other things that I had an image in my mind of him performing one day in front of many children. For a rock and roll artist and MTV executive, this might have seemed alarming on two levels.
I was a little concerned that he might think, ” Who does this crazy woman think she is writing to tell me her vision of my future ” and I also imagined he might think that playing his songs for children was too far removed from the dreams of rock and roll stardom he may have imagined when he was writing for Rolling Stone Magazine online.
That he took the time to send me a gracious and thoughtful response impressed me and reaffirmed that sometimes people are exactly who they seem to be. We had an opportunity to meet in person later that same year when we happened to be in Las Vegas at the same time. He was there preparing for an MTV awards night and when I stopped by without warning, he took the time to come out and say hello in person even though he was just about to begin a big meeting with his team of folks. I was once again impressed by the way he was consistently warm and approachable.
It has been a fun ride to watch as he continued to make and release his own CD’s while moving even further up the ranks at MTV taking on bigger titles and more responsibility. Since I began to follow his words and music, Benjamin has married Abbi and they welcomed their first child a few months ago, a precious daughter they call Maggie.
During all this he also found time along with his brother Christofer, to complete their documentary, ” Mister Rogers and Me,” which has been viewed by audiences at several significant film festivals and is already winning awards.
The reason however for my post today and the explanation for the title above is that Benjamin Wagner has a new CD release aimed directly at the ears of a younger audience while still managing to hold the musical attention of his older fans as well. It was no surprise to me that a little more than three years after I had an intuitive flash of Benjamin with an audience of children gathered around him, he and his band mates played an early show for a group of little ones.
I am so pleased to be a part of his “Forever Young” video. Not long ago Benjamin sent out a call for childhood images from his virtual ” neighborhood ” so I emailed mine and forgot about it until yesterday when I saw the video première.
I was giddily surprised to see myself as the first child in his video showcasing the faces of those who will stay forever young.(at least on the video) You can’t miss me, along with being the first face you see, I’m the one wearing an early look of deep contemplation and a puffy blue dress.
Benjamin tells you why he decided to record his ” Forever Young ” CD in a post over at his place and you can read about it by clicking on this link.
You can purchase ” Forever Young “ one song at a time or all ten songs at once by going to iTunes which exactly what I’ll be doing in a minute. By Monday you will be able to buy it through Authentic Records and CDBaby if you prefer.
I’ve had a chance to hear all the songs and find Benjamin’s version of some of my favorites as enjoyable as the babes who are just beginning their journey will.
I lifted this information which so fits with who Benjamin is directly from his blog,
” Proceeds will be donated to The Fred Rogers Center and The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood. Though neither is affiliated with the project in any way, we believe strongly in supporting their efforts towards advancing early learning and children’s media.”
Since he’s doing his bit to give of himself, I thought I would give a little too.
Today marks my first giveaway!
I will be giving away a copy of ” Forever Young ” to someone who leaves a comment below. If by some miracle I happen to at least get 100 comments, I’ll give away three copies.
My goal is two-fold … to share the work of this kind-hearted and multi-talented man and to help with his efforts to raise money that supports early learning for children and reinforces the deep and simple philosophy of Fred Rogers. You have until this Friday at 2:00 am Eastern Standard Time to comment and enter. Good Luck!
To hear more songs from ” Forever Young ” you can click here to listen to all ten tunes. If you want more chances to win and at the same time do a good thing with little effort, leave me a comment below and forward this post along to your friends and family.
Special thanks to Benjamin for helping this newly turned 50 year-old stay,
” Forever Young.”
Big CONGRATULATIONS to Cindy! Her number came up when I used Random.org to do the hard work for me. Cindy please contact me by email with an address, and I’ll have your copy sent to you directly from New York. Thanks to everyone who took time to comment. If you bought a ” Forever Young ” CD, I would love to hear your thoughts in followup. Thanks again for reading and commenting.
I have been reading your blog for several months and have been enjoying the pictures and your story telling.
Among the songs listed on the CD, many of them familiar to this 81 year old lady, the one that really rang a bell is “You Are My Sunshine,” as that was a family favorite that we sang on our car trips to help the trip go by, long before super highways, car radios and I-pods. Another favorite, not on the CD, was “Oh, Johnny,” (how you could love) as that was my father’s name.
I’d hoped to be the first to comment, but I’ll settle for second. 😉 As always, your words are eloquent. And as always, your support is appreciated. I’m really proud of “Forever Young” not just for its intent, or the passage it marks, or life stage it celebrates, but because it truly is a community effort: from Brooklyn to Des Moines to Venice Beach, many musicians pitched in to record these absolutely beautiful tracks. Likewise, from Queens to Scranton to the Cornish coast of England, neighbors shared their childhood images. Taken altogether, its pretty gratifying whether we sell any records or not (luckily, we have!). Many thanks, and much love.
Dear Elizabeth (and Benjamin),
I had to read the post quickly and had to forgo the links for now. This is awesome. So anxious to hear all the songs and I l.o.v.e.d reading about how your connection evolved.
Thank you to you both. As a musician and retired teacher I’m very interested in the documentary and the new album.
Happy belated birthday to you, Elizabeth.
I love it — swinging for the bleachers and charging things up! Very cool.
Sounds like something I’ll buy for my granddaughter, but I’d love to win a copy for me! Thanks
Got it! Thanks so much…it’s beautiful!
Wow, this is SO cool! Thanks for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes, because I was thinking how sad it is that I don’t have any photos of my precious daughter before she was about 9 years old, since she was in a Russian orphanage.
Now she is struggling with becoming an adult, at 19, and I am struggling to help her, but from a bit of a distance. Raising kids is so hard, but it’s a job I wouldn’t trade for anything.
I remember your Mr Rogers and me post as it was one that connected with me on a deep level. You never cease to amaze me my friend!
Looking forward to reading this at a more leisurely pace when not ensconced on client site in The Netherlands waiting for SAP procurement relationship modules to go live. That’ll be… uh.. yes! Well anyway I got my comment in, and look forward to making another in a few days…
Connections always amaze me. 6 degrees of separations isn’t much, but they still do.
I re-read your post three times. The biggest thing that struck me, the thing that I think really does keep us “forever young” is to follow our impulses in regards to communicating those flashes of insight into a person’s life. Letting them know what you see, helps them see it themselves. It is precisely how we all have the amazing power to change lives simply by paying attention to our own feelings and not being too shy to encourage someone else upon their own path. Lovely video, and song, and thanks for the lesson about being true to ourselves when it comes to thinking about others…and having the courage to act upon it…execution on positive insights helps us all “pay it forward”.
I really enjoyed this post, and what a great video. I remember your post about Mr. Rogers and Benjamin before. I spent a lot of time on Nantucket when I was little, and I remember meeting him there. There are so many connections that we all share. 🙂
Hi! I recently started reading your blog and find it to be a sort of mental vacation. I live in Florida and have never been “across the pond” or even to the opposite side of my own country. Your posts are such a pleasure to read.
I have a little monkey right now who keeps me young and would enjoy the album.