Solana Beach musician launches city song contest

Although Solana Beach may be the county’s second smallest city, it has its own song like New York has Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and San Francisco has Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

A collaboration between longtime residents Dr. Ed Siegel and Lynn Salsberg, “Solana Beach, Our City Proud,” was adopted as the official city song by the Solana Beach City Council in February 2006. While it’s been nearly nine years, many residents don’t even know they have their own song.

“It’s amazing how few people know we have a city song,” said Siegel.

In an effort to increase awareness, Siegel is launching a contest and inviting community members to offer their own interpretation of the city song. From classical to country, to reggae to rock, Siegel said the lyrics — which boast of surf, sun and local landmarks — lend themselves to just about any genre.

At the end of the contest, Siegel plans to produce an album featuring a variety of the interpretations.

“We would have a really nice CD for the city to enjoy, so everybody could find a version of it they would like,” said Siegel, who is covering the costs of the project, which would be produced in a professional studio.

A local psychiatrist and musician, Siegel established the weekly Solana Beach Community Singalong, which is now in its 28th season at Fletcher Cove Community Center. At the piano, he provides musical accompaniment and sings with the group in a repertoire contained in a songbook that he and regular attendees compiled over the years.

Over the years, the group updated its songbook to include songs that span generations, from spirituals to show tunes to popular hits. The city’s song, of course, is among those featured in the songbook.

Siegel first mentioned the need for a city song during the Solana Beach Community Singalong in 2000. Salsberg, who has attended the group since the early 1990s, heard his request and wrote the lyrics to “Solana Beach, Our City Proud.” After showing Siegel the lyrics, he wrote the music.

The pair presented the folk melody at the next singalong. The Public Arts Commission, Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society, Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce and other local groups later endorsed the song before the council declared a contest and “Solana Beach, Our City Proud,” was selected as the city song from two entries in the competition.

Although Siegel recorded the track with students at Skyline Elementary School and made 500 copies, the song never gained much traction. Today, it is now only heard when members of the Solana Beach Community Singalong sing it at their weekly get-togethers.

“Music brings people together,” said Siegel, who hopes the song will one day be played prior to Solana Beach Little League games and community events such as Beach Blanket Movie Night and Concerts at the Cove.

“Our hope is that every child in Solana Beach will learn it and proudly enjoy singing it for the rest of their lives.”

For more information or to participate in the contest, contact Siegel at 858-755-0316 or edsiegelmd@cox.net.

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