The 23rd annual “Reflections of Peace” holiday concert is returning to the Old Whaling Church to honor and celebrate the dedicated work of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. The concert will be held on Monday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 pm.
Hospice executive director Tom Hallahan said that when the concert was first created, people didn’t work for Hospice, but served as volunteers. Part of the volunteer group were Kevin and Joanne Ryan, Hallahan said.
“Their team does everything. They set the date, pay for the venue, and all the proceeds go to benefit Hospice of M.V.,” Hallahan said. “It really speaks to the concept of a community-supported hospice; that idea in itself is very unique.”
Hallahan said Hospice of M.V. doesn’t bill patients’ insurance, and is supported mainly through internal fundraising initiatives like the concert, along with generous donations.
According to Hallahan, the concert is one of the most anticipated events of the year, and many performers spend weeks dedicating their time in preparing for the performance.
He said Donaroma’s Nursery donates 150 roses to the concert so each attendee gets to take home their own special rose.
“Hospice doesn’t do anything during these performances. It’s really incredible how dedicated people are to our organization,” Hallahan said.
Hallahan thanked the Island community for their ongoing support, and said the concert is a good time to give thanks for all the time and effort folks put in each year.
He mentioned Handmade from the Heart, another fundraising initiative to benefit Hospice, where Islanders make handmade goods and sell them. All proceeds go to Hospice of M.V.
“It’s amazing how much support we have, from people baking goods, donating money, volunteering,” Hallahan said. “Our office is about to be flooded with beautiful pottery, paintings, and hand-knit sweaters.”
“We could not do the work we do without you, the people of Martha’s Vineyard,” Hallahan said.
Every year, Hallahan said someone who has received Hospice services in the past will speak about their experiences.
Many of the folks who donate to Hospice of M.V., according to Hallahan, have never used the service, but see the immense value in it.
“A lot of the time, maybe we helped their neighbor or a loved one, and they give us these huge gifts which we are eternally grateful for,” Hallahan said.
When the event started, “Reflections of Peace” co-founder and director Kevin Ryan said, it was supposed to be a onetime thing, but the plans changed. “I was a member in the church choir at Our Lady Star of the Sea, and the plans fell through there, but the musicians had been practicing for weeks,” Ryan said. “Well, we were still able to hold a concert and choose a charity, and we chose Hospice.”
According to Ryan, Hospice provides people solace at the end of their life. “They offer the ability for family and the individual to face the end in a peaceful and loving environment, and that is invaluable,” Ryan said.
Ryan said the concert is entirely created by volunteer funding, and none of those involved takes state or federal aid.
And because of the immense community support, Ryan said there is never a need for Hospice to refuse service to anyone.
Ryan and his wife, Joanne, co-founded the concert, and handle all the underwriting for the event. “We pay for the posters, the programs, and it has been our pleasure to be able to do that,” Ryan said.
The 23rd annual “Reflections of Peace” holiday concert, Old Whaling Church, Edgartown, Monday, Dec. 16, 7:30 pm.