COLLON SISTERS DO THEIR BIT FOR NANTUCKET
Clare has penned a classic
NANTUCKET WILL FOREVER HOLD A PLACE IN MY HEART
FROM the very first moment I stepped off the ferry and set foot on Nantucket Island (AKA ‘The Grey Lady’) about eight years ago, I knew I’d stepped foot onto a magical place. It was captivating and I fell in love instantaneously. I cried so hard when my trip came to an end, and so on the plane journey back home I started writing a song about it. Unfortunately the man sitting across from me wasn’t as enthusiastic and asked me to be quiet. I lay down my pen and phone into which I was humming the melody into and left it. A few years passed and a few more journeys over to the island, I decided to pick up where I left off,’ Clare Cunningham stated this week.
And her love of a place far from her native Collon has now seen that song come to fruition and become an anthem for the Palliative & Supportive Care Unit on Nantucket and a vital fundraiser in hard times.
Based in Nashville for the past number of years, Clare’s link with Nantucket, an island paradise 50km from Cape Cod, in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, comes in the form of her sister, Laura, now resident there.
After learning about the small island from a few college friends, Laura came to Nantucket in the summer of 2010 to play music at a beach bar.
‘I fell in love with the island right away and returned every summer to play music and waitress. I was studying film at the Institute of Technology in Tralee and returned once college was done to do an internship with “The Nantucket Project”, where I met my now husband Chris Wendzicki.
‘We started Yellow Productions (a digital marketing agency that specializes in video production) in 2014 and decided to make it home. Our son Liam was the last child born in the old hospital here on the island and the first child to enter the new one.
‘While COVID-19 has left us, alongside many others without any income, we’ve really been appreciating the fact that we are healthy and that we have all this time with our 1 year old. We witnessed him taking his first steps, something we might have missed if we were working,’ Laura states.
Her business is pretty quiet now, but she remarked, ‘we decided during this “quiet” time to put our energy towards something positive instead of losing our minds over the reality of us losing everything we’ve worked for.’
They decided to back the local pallative care team at PASCON. ‘They had to cancel their summer event in light of COVID-19. They rely on this event to be able to give their services for free to our island so we knew they needed help.
‘We have an incredible community here on the island and while it’s hard to know if this summer will happen, we wanted to create something to let people know that this isn’t forever and it will pass.’
They did up a promotional video of the island and Clare delivered the soundtrack - ‘Grey Lady’.
‘Clare is an incredible musician and it’s very generous of her to donate all proceeds from the song to PASCON. We approached some clients and real estate friends with the video and asked if they would match each download of the song to $1 and they agreed. I’m so proud to live here and be among people like that!
‘I take after my father John, I love to keep active and busy. Being able to stay busy and focus my energy on a project like this has kept me sane and happy.’
Within 24 hours, the Collon-Nashville- Nantucket inspired project had raised $7,000.
Clare wrote ‘Grey Lady’ two years ago and recorded it with Floyd Kellogg on Nantucket.
‘My amazing sister and her husband, both of whom own Yellow Productions and whom I have the pleasure of being a music producer for, came to me with the proposal of using the song as part of a visual gift that they created to help raise money for Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket,’ she stated.
The rest is history. The song and video went ‘live’ last week and 100% of the proceeds are going to the charity.
‘I am so proud of my sister Laura Cunningham and Chris Wendzicki Jr. for creating the most magical footage to capture the lyrics of this song.
‘Their work will never cease to amaze me and I am honoured to work alongside you both! Nantucket will forever hold a place in my heart and it ‘got a hold’ of it the moment I stepped off the ferry the first time. its a magical place with magical people.’
The release of the song came the same week when Clare was nominated in a series of categories in the National American Music Awards.
Her song,with Pat McManus, ‘Angel of the Emerald Isle’ is also included in a list of the best songs of 2019.
TOP: Nantucket Island and singer Clare Cunningham. LEFT: Laura Cunningham from Collon with her husband Chris and son, Liam, as well as their dog, Father Dougal!