Through Juilliard’s Community Service Fellowship
program, we have had the chance to spread our
love of music throughout the community. This
past semester, we have had numerous
eye-opening and gratifying encounters with
people in nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric health facilities, and homeless shelters. To witness the bright
smiles on the faces of patients with AIDS and cancer was moving beyond description. We played—and sang!—our hearts out, and they responded with tremendous enthusiasm.
Certain moments will be forever etched in our memories: the crowd at the Housing Works Day Treatment facility belting out and clapping along with unassailable gusto to our rendition of Beatles songs; the residents at the Jewish Guild for the Blind pronouncing our performance to be the best concert they’ve ever had; the endearing children at the New York Foundling Skilled Nursing Facility (including the unforgettable Wilbur [a.k.a.“Superpower”], Chi-chi, Jerome, and Josh) laughing and singing along to our Christmas carols, Disney favorites, and improvisational stories; and countless more wonderful experiences. Whether we displayed impressive feats on the keyboard with our “Blue Danube Fantasy” or sang simple duets of old-fashioned tunes, our audiences gave us the gift of pure enjoyment. Each interaction reminded us how empowering and uplifting music can be when it is shared.