If you are enjoying a summer stroll through a park in New York City, don’t be surprised to hear the sweet sounds of piano music. An organization called Sing for Hope has undertaken a campaign to bring the joy of art and music to the streets (and parks) of New York for everyone to enjoy.
Working with parks officials, the organization finds spots for the pianos where anyone is free to sit and play as long as they like. Selections can be as simple as “Chopsticks” or as complex as Chopin. In the end, everyone just has a great time. In typical New York style, street pianos in New York are an irrestible invitation for a public sing-a-long. Favorites like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” or “New York, New York” are an invitation for an impromptu outdoor concert among strangers.
After a two week stint, the pianos are donated to local community groups where they continue to provide enjoyment for years to come. As the city’s largest outdoor art project, Sing for Hope pianos are an attraction for millions of New York residents and tourists every year.
Although the organization’s name indicates music, their mission extends to all the arts and strives to uplift underserved communities through the beauty of art. They maintain a roster of volunteers from diverse backgrounds including classical and jazz musicians, dancers, choreographers, theater professionals, photographers, puppeteers and many others.
These volunteers are paired with more than fifty community partners including public schools, hospitals, nursing homes, libraries and community centers. The theme that unites the work of Sing for Hope is that everyone should be able to enjoy and share in the beauty of art and music.
Other programs sponsored by Sing for Hope include a youth chorus which is open to any New York City high school student. Students receive free vocal training from one of the many talented volunteer professionals recruited by Sing for Hope. Students are required to audition for the chorus where they are taught vocal techniques as well as sight reading of music. Students perform in concerts throughout New York City.
Sing for Hope Arts Intensive Program offers free week-long programs throughout the summer. The program is open to high school students interested in performing and visual arts. Sessions are led by professional volunteers who conduct classes in acting, improvisation, visual arts, song writing and dance.