Music unites us all.
Morristown singer-songwriter Eric Hayes stands by that statement — every time he passes Starbucks, as a matter of fact.
Hayes paid the Morristown Partnership to place a permanent sign on a lamppost outside the coffee shop, near the historic Morristown Green. In full, it reads:
Music unites us all.
Dedicate your life to art.
It’s meant to inspire, as a way of giving back to a town he loves, said Hayes, 35.
“Music is truly the union of the people. No matter what is happening around the world, it has a way of communicating to everyone. It speaks to everyone. It unites us all,” said Hayes, who has performed with Gavin DeGraw, Martin Sexton and other top names over the years.
“We are so grateful for Eric Hayes’ support of the Morristown Partnership’s Adopt a Light initiative,” said Karen Carvelli, director of development for the downtown business organization.
“His love of music and devotion to Morristown are an inspiration. His plaque is now a part of Morristown history and we hope will inspire the community for many years to come,” she said.
Established nearly 20 years ago, the Adopt a Light program gives people a chance to immortalize loved ones, thank customers or demonstrate civic pride, Carvelli said.
Plaques with a logo are $2,500; text-only inscriptions are $2,000. So far, about 50 of the Partnership’s 500 lampposts are spoken for, Carvelli said.
Hayes said he learned about the program while brainstorming with the Partnership about relocating and expanding the Morristown Music Academy, the school he started last year.
The performer never has been shy about making bold statements.
Last fall, he coaxed his girlfriend and three pals to help haul his piano up a cliff, for a spectacular video he hoped would soothe viewers after the divisive presidential election.
In March, he gave a powerful talk at TedX Morristown about overcoming obstacles–a painful injury, in his case–to scale personal heights.
He hopes the lamp sign will speak to people with deep passions, “to urge them to find ways to succeed at it by not losing hope, and working so hard at it, and doing the very best they can, so that they will one day achieve success and become one with their dedication.”
Becoming a permanent fixture in a Revolutionary downtown is pretty cool, too.
“It is the most rewarding feeling in the world,” Hayes said.
Video: Eric Hayes at TedX Morristown