Coronavirus News: New York City treating frontline workers to daily 'Music For The Soul' concerts

Monday, June 1, 2020
NYC treating frontline workers to daily concerts during pandemic
Sandy Kenyon reports New York City is treating frontline workers to daily concerts during the pandemic.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Every day at noon for the next month, health care workers in 11 New York City hospitals that are part of NYC Health and Hospitals Corp. are being treated to a solo concert by musicians appearing from their homes via Facebook Live.

"Music For The Soul" is the name of a program designed to thank those who are risking their lives to help those who are sick with COVID-19 get better.

Tony Bennett kicked off the program last month, telling those on the front lines of the pandemic, "You are New York City's heroes!"

Every day through July 3, a different artist performs for the health care workers. The effort is coordinated by the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and is funded by Laurie M. Tisch's non-profit Illumination Fund.

The appeal, says Commissioner Anne del Castillo, is "the immediacy of being in someone's personal space with them playing directly to you, so it actually feels like a personal concert."

She is the daughter of a nurse who has "seen firsthand what our health care workers go through."

The hope is that those who are trying to save lives get a brief respite during their lunch hour from noon until 1 p.m. each day.

"To be able to connect through arts I know is a wonderful reprieve from the real challenges that they're facing in hospitals today," del Castillo said. "(They say) that they're looking forward to it, that it's become appointment viewing."

Rosanne Cash has performed and Questlove is on the schedule, but for those musicians who are less well known, this is a paid gig at a time when such jobs are few and far between.

Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians worked closely with the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment to make this happen.

It's a win for performers; a win for the hard-working doctors, nurses and health care professionals in the audience; and ultimately, a win for New York City.