2 people shot in Richmond

Chesterfield musician bridges fight with mental illness into new song


CHESTERFIELD COUNTY,  Va. – Even when she is not performing, composing or teaching the violin, Savannah Hatcher is thinking about music day and night.

“I have to write it down. Like instantly,” says Savannah. “I think music definitely chose me.”

Making melodies is in her DNA.

“My great-uncle is Lawrence Welk,” Savannah says.

The Chesterfield woman can claim the big band leader as family.

“If they’re under 30 they have no idea who Lawrence Welk is,” Savannah says.

Savannah knew from an early age her life would be filled with notes of happiness. She was destined to become a professional and fulfill a lifelong dream.

Savannah Hatcher as child

“They say if you love what you do for your job then you won’t work a day in your life,” Savannah says. That is how I feel.”

There was one point, when Savannah knew something was clearly out of tune. She was suffering on the inside.

“I lost all hope of living,” says Savannah. “Yes. I self-harmed. I injured myself.”

She even walked away from playing violin for five years; her most important gift was suddenly a burden.

“I thought my self-worth as a human being was based on how well I played,” says Savannah.

Savannah needed and sought out help for mental illness. Specifically, bipolar disorder.

“I’ve learned to stop my perfectionism and my anxiety,” Savannah says.

The teacher also credits students like Bella Viramontes with helping her emerge from the darkness.

“I have to teach in some capacity for the rest of my life because it is the most amazing feeling,” says Savannah. “I didn’t want to continue and students like Bella were the reason why I did continue.”

Bella, 13, said she finds comfort and confidence in her music teacher.

“I can just trust her with anything. I have seen people go down that path,  but I have Ms. Savannah.

Parents like Jennifer Spangler say Savannah is an inspiration.

“The more and more I learn about her the more I appreciate her,” Jennifer says. “To be honest I view it as a strength for her practice with students.”

Savannah is not shying away from her mental illness.

“It’s a relief because once you have an answer you have a solution,” says Savannah.

Her new single Metamorphosized details her success in overcoming her struggles.

“I want my music to heal others and to hopefully inspire more people to follow what their path is,” Savannah says.

Her goal is to sread smiles just like her famous uncle Lawrence.

“He knew how to bring joy through music,” she says. “And he had fun and always sent you on a good note at the end of his show.”

If you would like to learn more about Savannah Hatcher’s music and her fight to end the stigma of mental health, click here.

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade’s “Heroes Among Us” reports. If you know of someone CBS 6 should should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com

Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.