Sing for Hope is using the power of music to bring a dose of joy to people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at New York’s Jacob Javits Center vaccination site.
The program is also providing a powerful solution for the dual crisis of artist unemployment and patient/caregiver anxiety.
“We have noticed there is a direct correlation between decreased levels of anxiety and calming people’s nerves when the music is present.” said Dr. Azmeth Husseini. “We have seen how people’s mental health has been suffering for the last year, so it is really, really amazing to have you be a part of this process. We’re very thankful to Sing for Hope for facilitating this harmonious atmosphere for people to get their vaccines.”
In partnership with the Javits Center, two artist-designed Sing for Hope Pianos have been installed at the mass vaccine hub so people – including medical staff – can enjoy live music while in the post-vaccine monitoring area. The beautiful pianos (part of Sing for Hope’s flagship program that has placed 500+ artist-designed pianos throughout NYC) were created by artists Billy the Artist, who created “Color in the City,” and Christopher Wong, who created “Love is Love.”
One vaccine recipient, Katie Rhoden, said, “After all of the sirens, makeshift morgues, and deaths of the past year, your music today gave me hope.”
Sing for Hope is producing the 7-day-a-week musical series featuring 3-5 musicians per service, employing artists who are in many ways the heart and soul of New York’s musical ecosystem – professionals from Broadway, Lincoln Center, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and many more. The program provides employment for an estimated 150 top-tier musicians each month, the vast majority of whom have had no employment since the shutdown in March 2020.
According to Victoria Paterson, Sing for Hope’s Project Leader for the new initiative, Sing for Hope will employ an estimated 125 musicians in all, while bringing profound joy to the Javits Center vaccination site every single day through healing and beautiful music.
“The impact is truly enormous,” says Paterson. “Since COVID took over in March 2020, most working musicians in New York City have not performed a single note or earned a dollar from their craft. It truly is amazing to be part of this astounding effort to bring back live music, and I would be remiss if I didn’t say that this may be one of the greatest honors of my life.”
Over three months, Sing for Hope’s programming at Javits Center Vaccination Site is estimated to directly benefit:
- 125 professional musicians – including artists from Broadway, American Modern Ensemble, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and more – providing vital employment while our stages are dark.
- 270,000 community members, comprised of vaccine recipients, doctors, nurses, and National Guard, who report a transformed environment because of the live music, with a marked decrease in anxiety-related medical issues.
“I have been so moved by the response to this initiative,” said Camille Zamora, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Sing for Hope. “The music transforms a cavernous and somewhat intimidating space into a place that’s warm and welcoming, and more than one vaccine recipient today thanked us with tears in their eyes for sharing the first live music they had heard in over a year. Our hope is that people will be moved to donate so that we can keep this going and continue to provide employment for musicians right now.”Monica Yunus, acclaimed American soprano and Co-Founder of Sing for Hope, shared, “Sing for Hope is honored to be bringing live music every day, seven days a week, to thousands of frontline workers and vaccine recipients. We are engaging hundreds of NYC’s greatest professional musicians, safely and beautifully, in the most-far-reaching employment initiative for New York’s freelance musicians since the start of the pandemic. Our musicians hail from Broadway, Lincoln Center, American Modern Ensemble, and more. And our program is not a one-time gesture. It is a sustained effort that comforts healthcare workers and patients while bringing hope and employment to our city’s finest musicians, the great artists who make New York New York.” Sing for Hope’s Javits Center Vaccine Site initiative is part of Sing for Hope Healing Arts, our research-based program of creative performances, workshops, and curated cultural experiences that promote wellness, connection, and respite in hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospices, and treatment centers.