Karl Anthony had no idea his love of music would land him in the hospital. But that’s where he’s been working for the past 10 years, guitar in hand, bringing music to kids and their families.
Anthony never intended for his music career to move in the direction it did. But, as he said during a phone interview, “I’ve always tended to take a step towards whatever takes a step towards me.”
As a San Diego area musician, Anthony volunteered regularly at the children’s hospital, playing for groups of kids. One time when he was engaging a room full of kids, the hospital director walked by and watched. Afterwards, he approached Anthony with the idea of joining their new healing arts department.
“My actual response was, ‘You know, I have no idea what that is, but sure I’ll do it,’ ” Anthony said.
It wasn’t until late in the process that Anthony realized it was a paid position. Now he spends his days playing at concerts and birthday parties and using music to bring comfort and support to kids and families who are suffering.
He recounted an interaction with a 7-year-old who was receiving chemotherapy. When Anthony asked what chemo felt like, the child described it as an earthquake. It felt like the ground was shaking inside of him. Anthony then asked what he does when the ground shakes. The child put his hand up in the air and responded, “I hold the sky.”
Together, Anthony and the child wrote a chorus that turned into “Hold the Sky,” the title song of his recent album.
“Art, music, storytelling, they all take our energy and open it up so we can be receptive to real human connection — and that’s where I see is the ultimate power,” Anthony said.
He describes himself not as a performer, but as someone who facilitates connection through music, which is the focus of his community concert Saturday. The event is designed for all ages, he said, and will have a folk/singer-songwriter feel as he plays songs and tells stories.
With more than 500 original songs in his repertoire, Anthony is able to customize the experience based on who shows up and how the audience is responding. It’s an experience that involves audience participation, he said, along with plenty of laughter and heart-warming moments.
“My intention is for people to walk away being a little opened up, a little less burdened by what life has shown up to be,” Anthony said. “I want to create an authentic moment where we’re hanging out together and being in this human experience together.”
Anthony also is scheduled to speak at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Unity Church of Clearwater Valley. The church is located at 1622 15th Ave. in Lewiston.
If you go:
WHAT: Karl Anthony “Hold the Sky” concert
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Silverthorne Theater on the Lewis-Clark State College campus in Lewiston
COST: $10/person, $30/family. Tickets available at the door; for advance tickets call Lane at (208) 791-1876 or Sandy at (208) 305-1718.