We are the Island
by Anna Doyle
Season’s Greetings, Island friends! My name is Anna Doyle, a resident of Hilton Head Island, a mom of two and a nursing consultant. I am also most recently the founder of Hilton Head Island Music and Art Coalition (HHIMAC), embarking on the maiden premiere of our virtual event on December 22, 2020 dubbed ‘We are the Island’.
I have lived on this island for almost 21 years. I have raised two children into their teens in our public school system of which I am a proud supporter. I have been heavily involved in supporting my own in their academic and athletic endeavors over these last 11 school years, however, much to our collective dismay, our microcosm looked a little different this year.
As we sought shelter in March from the previously undefined enemy, Covid-19, many of us did things a in a new way. We gathered our tight circles and attempted to batten down the hatches while everything was closed…we played board games, we cooked for our families, we baked with our children, we read books, we played music, we painted, we watched Netflix, we listened to podcasts, we zoomed with loved ones that live next door and across the country. We wanted to get out in nature, to breath fresh air, so we took long walks in the forest preserve or on the beach, we ran, we took boat rides, we sailed, we kayaked, we went fishing.
We were isolated and stagnate but most of us could make the best of the situation, we were the lucky ones.
Having been a home health care nurse on our island for many years and after long conversations with so many friends and family, many of whom are educators, I was deeply moved by the level of need for many people, especially during these unfortunate circumstances. The socioeconomic void that has impacted families was much more dire and prevalent than I had ever imagined. The worst part is, difficult circumstances already existed for many families, only to be magnified by Covid-19.
As I ruminated about the consequences of this difficult time on those less fortunate, and the intense weight of the global and national chaos spiraled out of control, I had a crazy idea. As I drove home one night in the beginning of August, I heard a song that I have heard a million times but in that five minutes, a dream began.
I made a few calls, then I made a few more calls…hundreds by now. I found Greg Critchley and Trevor Harden within a few weeks, two of the most incredibly inspiring and visionary people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, let alone work with. We began the unprecedented endeavor of producing a Hilton Head Island version of the song ‘What the World Needs Now ’ featuring 100 local legend and budding music artists across our community. I am not sure if the effort to organize and “pull off” this enormous task is measurable or understandable to most, however, all of the musicians involved will be the first to say it is next to impossible, let alone the inordinate undertaking of recording and filming in the current state of affairs. As fate would have it, none of this would have been possible without the strange and horrible situation created by Covid-19, as we had to record and film all of these pieces separately to create this extraordinary vibe. I am extremely grateful to all sponsors, musicians/vocalists, marketing contributors, and most especially, to my powerhouse team because… well, we did it! Greg and Trevor produced this spectacular display of Hilton Head Island musical brilliance and we all, along with Maggie Washo from CH2 who so generously donated her time and talents, formed our serendipitous coalition.
Our mission is one of encouraging community unity by creating epic annual music and arts events meant to inspire an impassioned response and benevolent donation to charities on Hilton Head Island that support our local youth in need, specifically, The Boys and Girls Club of HHI, Backpack Buddies and the PTOs of our local public schools. Our outreach is broad based but addresses the current and ongoing needs of school age children and families related to health and wellness, food and security, educational development and assistance, and technology needs and support.
The year 2020 has been tough on all of us but has been most difficult for those most vulnerable, the children. As we prepare for the December 22,2020 virtual event launch, my most fervent wish is for all of us to take just a moment to reflect on where we were in early March and to celebrate how far we have come. There is an incredibly bright future ahead that we can create together, after all, We are the Island. Please join us in “turning up” our community love and support by experiencing this music collaboration of the century!