The Arts Community and Non Profits Collaborate in Somerville

Somerville is known for its commitment to civic engagement and residents’ dedication to giving back. Recently, one of Somerville’s most active non- profits teamed up with a local video production studio and a popular band to create a promotional video. The collaboration highlights that the city truly is – A Somervillage.

Mark Alston-Follansbee, is the Executive Director of the Somerville Homeless Coalition, “It all started because Macaela from Newfangled studios reached out to us,” says Mark. “She lives in Somerville, she sent us an e-mail: I appreciate the work you do, I live in Somerville, and I’d like to help. She said she wanted to do a video, and we needed a band to do a song in the background.” 

Mark didn’t have to think twice he contacted his favorite band, Hallelujah the Hills, of which several members are Somerville Residents.

The band wrote and recorded a song, “It Takes a Somervillage,” for the video, and then decided to release the song on their bandcamp, with all proceeds from the single being donated to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

 “I think a lot of bands would have done what we did. It was a pleasure. We got lucky,” said Nicholas Ward, bassist for the band. “It’s a win-win situation,” drummer Ryan Connelly told Somerville Neighborhood News. “It gives Somerville Homeless Coalition a little spotlight, and draws peoples’ attention to ways they could contribute. Whether it’s running in their road races or contributing money.” 

“ I love the song,” said Mark. “They really capture what we are trying to say with it takes a Somervillage, but they also got that hip Somerville energy.” 

Ryan Walsh, singer for Hallelujah the Hills, credits Porchfest and Fluff Festival with giving Somerville some of that unique energy. Both events are referenced in the lyrics of the single. 

Alston-Follansbee appreciates the irony and the beauty of struggling artists helping out the city’s non-profits, “Somerville has always prided itself as the most dense city for artists in New England, but artists are struggling. Here’s Somerville going through this massive gentrification and displacement. People who came here years ago because it was an affordable place to live, and they could get loft space or studio space, are struggling.” Despite their own financial challenges these groups still find the time to help our local non-profits succeed. Proving that it takes a Somervillage to build a community. 

The promotional video can be viewed at somervillehomelesscoalition.org. Hallelujah the Hills will play their next Somerville show at Cuisine-en-locale on November 13.