The tragedy of the Covid-10 pandemic is unimaginable—with 48,000 lost and 850,000 sickened (at least at the time of this writing on 4/23), in America alone, we’ve not seen an epidemic of this magnitude in a century. The rapid spread of the disease has left much of the world “sheltering in place,” essentially withdrawing from work and most daily activities in the hopes of slowing the spread of the virus.
As I watch the drama unfold, downtown in the Financial District, I’ve been energized to notice how small daily rituals—and music—in particular, have helped all of us feel connected, showing gratitude and thanks for the service of health care workers, the recovery of hospitalized patients, and the yearning to see this terror-filled time come to a close.
Taking a page out of our European brethren’s playbook, New Yorkers have taken to hanging out their apartment windows and cheer at 7 p.m. each evening, honoring all those keeping us safe and working to save lives. News reports have noted that the Italians routinely break out in operatic song during these moments of community. As highlighted from an MSNBC program today (April 22, 2020), a former Marine Josh Landress plays “Taps,” following the 7 p.m. community cheer. This familiar funeral ritual honors those who’ve died from Covid-19.
In a number of hospitals, recovered Covid-19 patients are serenaded by medical staff as they are wheeled out to waiting family members. One song of choice? The Beatles “Here Comes the Sun.” And, in New Orleans, recently very hard hit by the environment did a traditional “Second Line” parade behind the patient as she is wheeled out to her loving family.
And, of course, who can forget the sight and sounds of Andrea Bocelli when he sings “Amazing Grace” and songs on praise on Easter.
Music does soothe the most heartbroken souls.