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Press Releases

Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, NYC Health + Hospitals & AFM Local 802 Launch "Music for the Soul" of Our Medical Heroes & Their Patients

Local Musicians Perform Requests by Hospital Staff Daily Through July 3

Tribute & Performance by Legendary Singer Tony Bennett Today at 12pm with Special Guests Rosanne Cash, Questlove & AJR to perform in the coming days

May 20, 2020

New York, NY

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, NYC Health + Hospitals and AFM Local 802 have launched Music for the Soul of NYC’s Health + Hospitals Heroes, a new series in support of the 43,000 staff at NYC’s 11 public hospitals and their patients. The series is funded by the Laurie M Tisch Illumination Fund.

Music for the Soul is designed to inspire our heroic medical community, connect isolated patients to the outside world, and provide paid work for musicians, who may be struggling financially. The series will feature a variety of professional NYC musicians performing songs requested by health workers and patients at NYC public hospitals, as well as some of the musicians’ personal favorites. The musicians – who’ll be playing from home – will also be performing songs that local hospitals have used to celebrate patients successfully coming off ventilators.

Starting this week and running through July 3, Music for the Soul will be livestreamed on NYC Health + Hospital’s Facebook page every day from 12-1pm ET.

Special guest Tony Bennett will kick off the Music for the Soul hour today by paying tribute to hospital workers with a special message and performance of the classic “Fly Me to The Moon” followed by Local 802 musician Rachel Z Hakim; while Rosanne Cash and her husband John Leventhal will appear at the top of the hour tomorrow to perform a couple of songs followed by Local 802 musician Richard Frank. A variety of talented NYC musicians will be performing over the next several weeks, with guest appearances from musicians such as Questlove, who will present a special DJ set, and indie pop band AJR.

“This program celebrates the best of New York City: our local musicians sharing their talents to heal our dedicated healers on the frontlines,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner, Anne del Castillo. “As the daughter of a nurse, I could not be more proud to be part of this special effort.”

The program offers NYC musicians, many of whom have been financially affected by the current COVID-19 crisis, fair wages and benefits in accordance with guidelines from AFM Local 802.

“We’re grateful for our partners who are bringing joy and music to our patients, staff, and communities during these challenging time,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Quality Officer and emergency medicine physician Eric Wei, MD. “We know the science behind the healing powers of art and music, which we’re all in need of during this pandemic. The Music for the Soul of NYC’s Health + Hospitals Heroes program will not only bring beautiful sounds to our hospitals, but also connect all of the different communities we serve and bring people together through technology.”

“It is a privilege to help make the power of music available for frontline healthcare workers, patients and their families,” said Laurie Tisch, founder and president of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “Through its Arts in Medicine program, H + H already has a strong infrastructure in place to provide much-needed arts programming across the hospital system. This pandemic has caused unimaginable heartache and stress for so many New Yorkers. We are proud to do what we can to help them now and into the future.”

“Music is truly a healing force,” said Adam Krauthamer, President of AFM Local 802. “Our musicians are honored to share the gift of music with hospital patients as well as with the courageous medical workers who are putting their lives on the line for all of us.”

“I am in my ninth decade as a native New Yorker, and I am humbled to be able to perform for all of NYC’s health and hospital workers who risk their lives and sacrifice so much to save the lives of all their patients battling the COVID-19 virus,” said Tony Bennett. “Their extraordinary and dedicated response to this unprecedented situation exemplifies the highest level of human behavior. They are the heart and soul of our city’s efforts to ensure our well-being.”

“As New Yorkers, we are so deeply humbled, and so grateful for the selfless service of the city’s essential medical workers, from doctors to hospital cleaning crews. It is our honor to partner with our musicians’ union, AFM Local 802, to honor them in this small way,” said Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal. “Thank you to those who care for us, sacrifice for us, and guide us to the other side of the pandemic, in health. We are New York Strong!”

“New York is our hometown and we are so grateful to the medical workers on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19,” said the members of AJR. “We hope through the Music for the Soul series we can offer a small moment of relief and joy for these heroes that are doing so much for our city, our friends, and our family who’ve been affected.”

“The Songwriters Guild of America has been a leading force for good works in the music industry, along with our friends at AFM, since 1931,” said SGA President and hit songwriter Rick Carnes (“Long Neck Bottle,” “Can’t Even Get the Blues No More”). “At this unprecedented time of sacrifice, we could not be prouder of contributing in some small way toward making this project of deep appreciation a resounding success.”

Eddie Schwartz, President of the Music Creators of North America coalition (MCNA) and songwriter of the classic “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” added: “To all of the doctors, nurses, hospital workers, and first responders in New York City, we at NMC thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and wish all of the patients you care for quick and complete recoveries.”

Charlie Sanders, Chair of the Congressionally-chartered umbrella organization of the U.S. music industry, the National Music Council, thanks the NYC Mayor’s Office and all of the other groups for their cooperative spirit in support of Music For The Soul. “The music industry wants to send this message to every person working to save lives during this crisis, whether in my hard-hit hometown of New York City or elsewhere: We stand with you always, just as you have sacrificed for us, always.”

“Music for the Soul is a great opportunity to provide our frontline healthcare workers with some solace and a creative break from their hectic and challenging days,” said John Josephson, Chairman and CEO, SESAC. “We and our affiliates are thrilled to share their music as a small token of our sincere appreciation to the many healthcare workers who are courageously healing and helping to rebuild the wellbeing of our community.”

Music for the Soul media materials, including images and video, can be found here.