THE GIFT OF music is a great way to usher in holiday cheer and Tommy Holland and Friends aim to take music to the homes of as many youths as possible for the fifth consecutive year.
On Saturday, Nov. 28 starting at 5:30 p.m. the 5th Annual Tommy Holland and Friends Musical Toy Drive will take place at Coach’s Corner in Savannah. This annual initiative began to collect and raise money for instruments to donate to young teenagers around the Christmas holiday.
“We’re all about putting music in the hands of kids,” said event organizer, Tommy Holland of the Midtown Pickers. “It’s such an important part of life. It inspires creativity, to begin with, but it’s also important because there’s math involved; there’s science involved, there’s history involved and English! It encourages these kids to think!”
This year’s drive began the first week of November and will continue through Christmas. Last year, Holland and the group were fortunate enough to raise $2,500 worth in instruments, and this year, they are off to a great start in doubling that amount.
Every year, the event kicks off with a solo by Lance Levens, the oldest member of the Midtown Pickers, and ends with a grand finale with Tommy Holland and friends. Raffle tickets for goodies will be sold at the door, and donations of cash and instruments will be accepted throughout the event.
The cause is dear to Holland’s heart because for Holland, music is so much more than just entertainment. Music is an escape, as it has been since he was 14 years old.
“My dad died when I was 14 and if it wasn’t for my guitar, I don’t know where I’d be today,” he said.
Holland said he started playing in church groups and occupied his time in other ways that kept him from going astray due to his grief.
Over the last seven years, the Midtown Pickers have operated as a small group of guys and ladies that play music, enjoy music and give back to the community. They have helped with several events, including four fundraisers for Hospice Savannah, raising more than $4,000. They have also done fundraisers during hurricane season, in addition to an annual Toy Drive.
Next year, Holland said he plans to extend his communal efforts even more. Some plans include distributing musical instruments to as many children as possible, starting with day care facilities.
“We want to make sure that every day care that wants it has a musical program,” Holland said.
Other plans include pairing children up with musical mentors that will guide them in their training, and donating instruments, year round, to young musicians who need them.