When the media team at Atrium Health was brainstorming ways to commemorate Black History Month, one member got an idea: What if the healthcare company produced a music video featuring some of its employees singing “Lift Every Voice,” a.k.a. the Black National Anthem?
“We loved the idea from the beginning and started to work through how we could make this dream a reality, how we could create our own music video,” Kate Gaier, Atrium’s senior manager of media relations, recalled weeks later.
Gaier said she knew she would need help assembling a group, so she reached out to Fernando Little, Atrium’s enterprise chief diversity officer.
Since 2004, the healthcare company has hosted “Atrium Health has Talent,” an annual talent show competition for staff.
Little, a pianist who won the first competition, now serves as MC of the event and has stayed connected with past participants. So when Gaier came looking for help, he reached out to some employees he felt would be a good fit for the project.
The result was a harmonious rendition, just shy of two minutes long, viewed thousands of times on social channels.
“Not only did we know they were musically gifted,” Little said of the group, “but we also knew of their personal stories and the reason why they sing through the talent show event.”
In addition to Little, choir members were: Danielle Dease, a certified medical assistant; Tia Jackson, an office coordinator; Tia Battle, a patient services coordinator; Nita Word, an urgent care manager; Tempestt Farrar, a patient financial services specialist; Marcus Singleton, a patient accounts specialist; Felix Harper, a patient account coordinator; and Yasmin Senturias, a division chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics.
The group had only two days to rehearse before filming.
“When I arrived and heard what they were rehearsing in the hallway, I knew right then that this was a special group called to deliver a special message,” Little said.
The performance was unique, he said, because it brought together a diverse group of employees to push the message of “health, hope and healing for all.”
Little doesn’t expect this to be their last performance together.
“This group has definitely started something,” he said. “There is no formal singing group established, but now there is a sudden interest in starting the Atrium Health Gospel Choir. We will see what happens. This group just made it look too easy.”