The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp

Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Kicks Off 25th Anniversary with Song and Music Video

Prolific Singer/Songwriter Natalie Merchant Teams with Producer/Director McG and The Hole in the Wall Gang Campers for a “Wonder” Sing-A-Long

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, founded by Paul Newman, has released an inspiring song and music video to kick off its 25th anniversary as a hideout where seriously ill kids can simply be kids.

Natalie Merchant, one of America’s most respected recording artists, created a new sing-a-long version of her iconic song “Wonder” and recorded it at the Camp in Ashford, Conn. this past summer with the campers. McG, the acclaimed Hollywood director and producer, was on hand to film the recording and capture the different kind of healing that the Camp provides. In the music video, Merchant leads the kids in song interspersed with clips of the late Paul Newman and the campers sharing what the Camp means to them.

“Natalie Merchant has given us a great gift with this song,” said James H. Canton, the Camp’s Chief Executive Officer.  “And McG’s music video is a beautiful snapshot of our mission: to give these kids so much love and acceptance that they leave Camp with a smile, knowing how beautiful and special they are.  It is a powerful, moving and uplifting tribute as we begin our 25th anniversary and we can’t thank Natalie Merchant and McG enough for capturing Paul’s dream so beautifully.”

“Wonder” was written by Natalie Merchant for her first solo album “Tigerlily.”  The song, released as a single in 1996, reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.  Its lyrics contain the refrain, “They say I must be one of the wonders” and were inspired by Merchant’s own experience meeting twin sisters coping with a congenital disease. Merchant was struck by how positive the girls were as they faced significant challenges, thanks to an inner strength that she attributed to the love and support of their family and friends.

“Paul Newman was a visionary and I feel extremely honored that I was asked to be part of this celebration.  The work the Camp does is phenomenal,” Natalie Merchant said.  “For years, I’ve been told by parents of kids with special needs and medical staff and children themselves that ‘Wonder’ has become an anthem for sick kids.  So I know the healing power of the song.  I am delighted to add my voice to all the love, camaraderie and sharing that goes on at Camp.  Paul really did it so well. The Camp is a magical place.”

The song and music video are available at holeinthewallgang.org. Grey New York, which serves as the Camp’s pro bono communications agency, provided production and marketing assistance.