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LISTEN: How This Song Became an Anthem for Bastrop's Wildfire Recovery

In 2010, when the Bastrop Education Foundation approved a grant for a children's songwriting workshop, they had no idea what music would spring forth.

The idea was for New York-based composer Jim Papoulis to travel to the Central Texas, meet with Bastrop County's school children and help them craft the lyrics for a tune. 

Credit Mose Buchele
Bill Owens, director of the Bastrop Honor Choir.

Papoulis was set to arrive in the fall of 2011. That September, the most destructive wildfires in Texas history struck Bastrop.

"The question was 'should we do it? Is it going to be too painful? Can we pull it off with fewer kids?' Because they'd lost their houses," says Bill Owens, director of the Bastrop Honor Choir. "Most of us worried that most of the kids are not actually going to be at school."

In the end 300 children attended the workshop. "It was amazing," says Owens.  

The song they wrote has been played at several community functions since the fires. Called "Everything I Need," it tackles the pain of loss in the fire.

"We discovered listening to what the kids were saying was that the kids were taking care of their parents," says Owens.  "I think in general people don't have a  clue how powerful children are."

You can hear more about the song below.

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.
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