In these anxiety-ridden times of social and emotional isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, sharing music is one way in which we can still feel connected to each other.
And that is exactly what world-famous Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli did for us on Easter Sunday when he performed a sacred music concert in an empty cathedral in Milan, Italy, which was livestreamed to 5 million viewers worldwide.
Bocelli uplifted and connected us. He inspired us all with the message of hope because, when we face adversity, it’s all about reaching out and taking care of each other.
Bocelli said he was offering prayer for anyone who was suffering and a wish for their speedy recovery. Music is a universal language and, for many viewers, Bocelli’s moving musical performance was a substitute for church. It was a global event that transcended nationality, religion and race — a deep emotional experience that made us feel unified. (You can view it on YouTube.)
During these trying days, if we look around we will find numerous examples of people who are singing their hearts out — some out on their balconies, some performing on neighborhood sidewalks, others on TV — all in an effort to express support for those suffering from deep emotional isolation.
For example, Neil Diamond rewrote “Sweet Caroline” to promote good handwashing techniques. And Lori Marie Key, a Michigan nurse, inspired her colleagues during a shift-change by singing “Amazing Grace” to honor them.
Gloria Estefan created “Put on Your Mask,” a humorous interpretation of her 1989 hit song “Get on Your Feet” to remind people to wear their masks and to follow safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wanted to contribute something that would put a bit of humor into a very serious situation because that’s what has helped me get through the toughest moments in my life,” said Estefan. “I hope I make you smile while imparting an important message! Stay healthy, my people … And to those suffering from this vile plague or those that have lost loved ones, you are in my prayers and thoughts continuously. We will get through this.” (Instagram post)
Similarly, Maya Hawke, “Stranger Things” actress, accompanied and assisted by her family, prepared a modern version of the Von Trapp family singing. And Pastor Joel Osteen inspired and uplifted us with a beautiful Easter message titled, “Hope is Alive” in which he combined live and virtual choral and instrumental music, including a magnificent solo by Mariah Carey.
There also are many musicians out there who are using creative ways to promote spiritual healing by singing or playing instruments for patients in nursing homes from outside their windows — anything to uplift spirits. Music is a message of hope.
And it certainly gladdens our hearts to see the numerous musical charity fundraisers that are springing up across the East Coast, West Coast, and middle America to help support those who are hard hit by loss of jobs, savings and the deaths of family members.
I commend all those celebrities and non-celebs who are sharing their musical gifts and generosity of spirit with the world because, as Hans Christian Andersen said, “Where words fail, music speaks.”