Musician Tommy Holland hosts musical instrument tour at Coach’s Corner
This is a column by Tommy Barton, the former editorial page editor of the Savannah Morning News.
Savannah songwriter and guitar picker Tommy Holland is here again to prove he’s no miracle when it comes to getting musical instruments into the hands of deserving kids this Christmas.
This Saturday, November 27, the indefatigable troubadour will host his sixth annual drive for Tommy Holland and Friends musical toys. Last year’s effort raised more than $6,000 in instruments distributed through the Toys for Tots organization and other worthy groups associated with Holland’s own nonprofit, the Little Star Foundation of Savannah.
Since its inception, this effort has raised more than $15,000 and purchased instruments – primarily guitars, ukuleles and keyboards – for hundreds of Savannah-area children.
Holland’s inspiration came about seven years ago when he saw a child sitting on the sidewalk at 49th and Barnard streets and playing the violin for donations. Holland, whose heart is bigger than his Santa-esque figure, stopped his truck. The child was playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Holland was pierced. He recalled his own childhood when he struggled emotionally and educationally, and when the timely gift of a guitar changed his life for the better, as music taught him self-discipline and made his soul flow. creative juice in a positive direction.
Soon after, he started his foundation with the goal of putting real instruments, not cheap toys, into the hands of children so they could be inspired and motivated to stay in school and improve their life. He called on Savannah’s music community for help, and the city’s many selfless musicians answered his call.
This year’s benefit concert will be held November 27 from 6-10 p.m. at Coach’s Corner at 3026 E. Victory Drive in Thunderbolt. Admission is a donation of cash, musical instruments, or gift cards. Donations can also be mailed to Tommy Holland Toy Drive, PO Box 22652, Savannah, GA 31403.
Among the artists scheduled are singer Harmony Eckroth, guitarist Stewart Marshall, band Andrew Gill and Friends, band Fractions with Skip Jennings, musician Thomas Claxton, band Chain Reaction and a new band called the Mix-Ups, whose members attended Charles Ellis Elementary School in Savannah. Members of Savannah High School’s graduating classes of 1973, 1974 and 1975 are also set to take the stage at Coach’s. As a grand finale, all performers will perform selected music as Tommy Holland and Friends.
“It will be a fun event for a good cause,” Holland said. “We have received tremendous support from many people in our local community.”
His foundation plans to expand its musical reach to children at Safe Shelter, Greenbriar Children’s Center and innovative group DUETkids.org, a non-profit group that provides free private music lessons and instruments to at-risk children and other children in local school systems.
This year, Holland hopes to raise $10,000 to help more children.
“I’ve never been more proud to be a Savannahian,” Holland said.
Savannahians should also be proud of Mr. Holland’s opus holiday encore performance.
Contact Barton at [email protected]