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Local musician teaches young people life lessons through Caribbean music

Posted at 8:57 PM, Aug 27, 2020

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The Mosaic Steel Orchestra was founded 20 years ago by Dr. Anthony Hailey, an internationally-known percussionist.

His goal was to bring Caribbean-style steel drum music to young people in Hampton Roads who may not have been exposed to it before.

Xavier McGee plays steel drums in the orchestra.

“I really like the sound whenever you hit a note, it sounds really nice.”

Because of the pandemic, they’ve been playing virtually, but in years past they’ve played many events locally and nationally.

Dr. Hailey helps these young people develop musically and instills a sense of community responsibility and professionalism.

“It can open up doors; it can open up the world to them. They see and build that confidence that they get form participating in an art like this, and being great and gifted in something - it lets them see that their potential is greater than what they know," he explained.

“I started back with him back in 1999 and he became a second father figure during that time, and as I’ve gotten older he’s become like an older brother to me and mentor," says Brian Hunt.

“Working for him is inspiring. He does a lot for everybody," added Lawrence Sawyer.

“He’s a really nice guy. He meets people and he can explain things real good," says Jordan Hunt.

We caught up with him at the group’s practice space at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk Saturday to surprise him with a News 3 People Taking Action award. He was met with a round of applause.

Related: Local restaurant surprised with award for serving up more than good food

Belinda Easley nominated Dr. Hailey for the award. Her two grandchildren take lessons and play in the orchestra, but when she fell on hard times recently and couldn’t afford lessons, Dr. Hailey let them continue for free.

“He says it’s not about money, and it's my way and everybody’s way of saying, 'thank you,'" she said.

“He’s an amazing person. He pushes me when I need him to when I feel it's too fast. He’ll tell me that I can do it or I’m able to do it."

And while we know he doesn’t do it for the money, we still wanted to give him a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

“This is something that I do for the love of it, so it's great to be appreciated in this way," says Dr. Hailey with a tear in his eye.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, email us at

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