By Joel Hall
The city of Riverdale is using a new promotional tool to highlight the city's growth and accomplishments: The power of song.
A song written and performed by Zinnae Macon, 17, a senior at Riverdale High School, may soon become the city's official theme song, according to city officials.
"Riverdale Song" has become a common feature at city functions since it was first performed on July 12, 2008, during the opening ceremonies of the city's centennial celebration, according Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon. The song was most recently performed during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Riverdale Town Center on Dec. 13.
"The fact that she loved her city enough to write a song is mind boggling," said Wynn-Dixon. "It gives you a warm feeling. When you hear it, people always just smile. At all our functions now, we try to get her to sing. We're going to possibly make it the Riverdale theme song, so people will hear it on the Web page. I haven't seen anybody opposed to it."
The 4 1/2-minute song highlights the diversity, amenities, and history of the city.
"And how I love you Riverdale," Macon sings in "Riverdale Song." "Nowhere else in this world does my heart wish to prevail/Because with open arms you welcomed us and gave us the strength to know and love this place where we belong/ Over 14,000 souls you keep, a town that's too diverse to be forgot, this is the place to be ... "
The melody of the song was composed by Macon's father, Haran Griffin, owner of Alexis Studios, a recording facility in Riverdale. Griffin asked his daughter, who has sung at various venues since her childhood, to compose the lyrics.
"We were asked to compose a song for the city and some singers were called in, including my daughter," he said. "She's getting ready to release her first CD and one of the reasons we asked her to come into this situation is because we thought having a project through the city would really encourage her. I'm really proud of her. We wrote this when Riverdale was going through problems with the schools, and it looked like there was no hope. This song brings a lot of hope. We really need hope, we need to look toward the future, and we really need to unify our businesses."
Macon, who plans to audition for The Juilliard School later this year, said the city's image was tarnished last year when Clayton County Public Schools lost its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. She hopes the song will encourage people to give the city a second look.
"Since the county lost its accreditation, people tend to look down on Riverdale," she said. "Riverdale is basically a quiet place though. Once people get to know Riverdale, they tend to change their minds. I'm hoping the song will open up people's eyes to how nice of a community that Riverdale is and let the older people know that there are some younger people who are thinking positively."
Lonnie Ballard, assistant city manager, said the song provides another avenue to reach out to citizens, particularly the youth.
"Music connects people because it is the universal language," Ballard said. "It's a promotional tool. I think it certainly lets other young people know that the city is willing to partner with young people because the centennial project was a really important project for the city. Hopefully, we'll see more participation with youth in city initiatives."