Clare has penned a clas­sic

Mid Louth Independent - - FRONT PAGE -


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!

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