Tunes for transformation

The Hart Music Man band will play a benefit concert at the Old Whaling Church.

Stephen Hart of the Hart Music Man band. —Anthony Esposito

Longtime Islander and musician Stephen Hart will host a benefit Friday, July 21, at 7:30 pm at the Old Whaling Church for his niece, Sofia Hart. The event is a heartfelt tribute to Sofia, who is courageously navigating her heart transplant journey. Sofia grew up on-Island, and graduated from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in 2011. Stephen Hart spent his childhood summers here, and moved to the Island year-round in 1983.

The Hart Music Man band consists of Stephen Hart on guitar and lead vocals, Paul Thurlow from the Ululators, Tom Major on drums from EnTrain, and Steve Tully on saxophone (known for playing with various bands, including the locally loved Mike Benjamin Band). The band will perform live original music written and arranged by Hart. The band’s music is described as having good energy, an uplifting vibe, and falls under the genre of acoustic soul rock.

Although Stephen Hart’s usual goal is to captivate audiences, this performance aims to generate funds and support for his niece Sofia. The event serves as inspiration and a means to provide encouragement and love for Sofia, whom her uncle and others describe as a spunky, tenacious, free-spirited, dedicated, kind, wonderful, and good-natured person.

In the past, Hart has been immersed in the music scene on the Vineyard, performing numerous concerts with his previous touring band, the Ululators. They played at notable venues like the Hot Tin Roof and the Atlantic Connection, including sold-out shows at the Chilmark Community Center during their early days. They later secured a manager and had the opportunity to open for renowned bands such as the Wailers (Bob Marley’s band), Third World, Toots and the Maytals, and Phish. Hart has also recently performed with a reggae band called Mojo Nectar from the Berkshires.

If you would like to donate or learn more about Sofia’s journey, visit the Harts’ GoFundMe page: A Heart for Sofia Hart, hosted by Julia Hart.