Lullaby Project at Folklife

Lullabies written by the mothers of Mary’s Place will be featured at the Northwest Folklife Festival on Sunday, May 29.

What is the power of a song?

This year’s Northwest Folklife Festival is exploring the power of the human voice — raised in song, together in harmony or connecting us to the people we love. Among the hundreds of performances this year will be one featuring one of the simplest, but most powerful forms of song: the lullaby.

Musicians from the Seattle Symphony along with local artists will perform a concert of lullabies written by the mothers of Mary’s Place, a shelter for families experiencing homelessness, on Sunday, May 29 at 2pm at Seattle Center. For the past three years the Symphony has partnered with Mary’s Place to empower mothers in challenging situations by helping them write personal lullabies for their children.

“I think the amazing part of the Lullaby Project is that you can see the transformation take place almost right away,” said Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary’s Place. “I think a lot of that has to do with the musicians and the composers coming together and caring enough about a mom that’s in crisis. That they see her and she isn’t invisible anymore. And that her problems aren’t invisible anymore. And that they love her, regardless of what she’s going through.”

The project begins with a creative workshop where Seattle Symphony Teaching Artists and mothers work on writing the lyrics and melody. Later, musicians from the Seattle Symphony perform and record the lullabies. Finally, the project concludes with a sharing session where the finished CDs are presented to the mothers as a keepsake and they get to hear their recorded lullabies for the first time.

Read more about the Lullaby Project: Making Music at Mary’s Place.

When we asked one of the mothers, Christinah, about her experience with the Lullaby Project this year:

“The experience was awesome. To be honest I have a lot of anxiety and I never probably would have done it… I’m just so glad that I was able to be a part of it and I actually did it and I stayed the whole time. I didn’t get up and leave. I just am so proud of myself that I actually stuck it through and I’m so happy for you guys coming in and doing that because I would not have been able to make a lullaby for my child.”

You can listen to the recordings from this year’s Lullaby Project, below:

In addition to the concert, Teaching Artists from the Seattle Symphony will lead a workshop where visitors can create their own lullabies, and the Seattle Symphony and Mary’s Place will host a panel discussion.

Event Schedule
  • 12 noon - Lullaby Project Film & Panel Discussion | SIFF Film Center
  • 1pm - Create Your Own Lullaby | Armory Lofts – Music Workshop
  • 2pm - Lullaby Project Performance | Center Theatre

You can find out more about the Lullaby Project at Folklife by visiting

Posted on May 23, 2016