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Gina Singerhouse surveys the many headstones of the fallen veterans at the Willow River Cemetery. Photo by Jace Frederick

Country music journalist inspires song with her story

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arts and entertainment River Falls,Wisconsin 54022 http://www.hudsonstarobserver.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/14/0613/jfrosenquist.jpg?itok=2YkWGgjo
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Country music journalist inspires song with her story
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Gina Singerhouse has been a journalist for almost twenty years. Never did she think her work would lead to the creation of music, but that is exactly what happened in 2011.

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Singerhouse, a Hudson native and Hudson High School graduate, started Strictly Country in 1993, a magazine dedicated to the coverage of country music. As the magazine's editor and a member of the prestigious country music organizations ACM and CMA, Singerhouse has had the opportunity to meet all of the biggest names in the business, including Jon Rich, Willie Nelson and Faith Hill. While Singerhouse has a great respect and appreciation for these country icons, they are not the ones she classifies as heroes.

"All the people that served (in the military), who gave their lives so that we could have a job, that's a hero to me," said Singerhouse.

Singerhouse has a love and appreciation for the men of service that stems from a long line of military service in her family. She has twenty-two uncles, most of which, along with her father, served in the military.

"Looking back, I walked among heroes every day," she said.

This appreciation for the military has led to her love for Memorial Day. Singerhouse says her dream is to one day open up a hotel and theatre complex in Hudson and hold a four-day event each year honoring those who died in service. The main feature of the event would be "The Walk of the Lone Soldier," where someone who serves would be in uniform and march to the top of a hill and stand guard next to an American flag flying high atop a flag pole. The idea is meant to be a reminder that "at any given time, America -- its beliefs and freedoms -- are always guarded by a soldier."

Singerhouse wrote an entry in her online blog in 2011, located on the magazine's website that spoke of this idea, along with a story she created about the lone soldier. The soldier is linked to both world wars, Korea, Vietnam, and now even Iraq. The spirit of this soldier is always around. Then, on Memorial Day, all of the soldier's brothers at arms come to fruition from their graves to protect the nation.

In the weeks following her entry, Singerhouse received an email from bluegrass singer/song writer Mark Brinkman. Brinkman informed her that he was so inspired by the story of the lone soldier that he wrote a song based on the article titled "The Spirit of the Lone Soldier." Singerhouse and Brinkman proceeded to collaborate on Brinkman's draft until they reached a final product.

Singerhouse was taken aback by Brinkman's wishes to turn her piece into a song. The fact that he discovered her writing was reassuring for her work and her idea of the lone soldier. "As a reporter you hope that someone is reading your stuff," she said.

Brinkman also has a strong connection to the military. He, his father, and now his son, have all served with the U.S. Air Force. Singerhouse feels Brinkman does a nice job capturing the essence of her article and further addresses the fact that people are forgetting the true meaning of Memorial Day.

"Memorial Day has become an excuse for people to just party. The unofficial kickoff to summer," said Singerhouse.

She also spoke about how it used to be a time for family and remembrance when she was younger, another reason she wishes to create an event to help properly celebrate the holiday and the people it is meant for.

Singerhouse uses her ever-growing following and connections with some of country music's most prominent stars to help raise money for helping families of POWs. She plans to keep writing for Strictly Country along with working a haunted house with her husband.

When asked why she has such a love for country music Singerhouse responded, "It's that a person can actually write a song that can touch you and sing it in such a way that can touch you."

Well, it appears as though this time it was actually the country musician being inspired.

Singerhouse's blog can be found online with the song at www.strictly-country.com/Blog.html.

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