It was a month ago that the Peace of Heart Choir, a voluntary community ensemble that emerged following the tragedy of 9/11 to promote community bonding, presented a live Facebook feed of its members singing “New York, New York” at 7:02 p.m., immediately following the nightly “Clap Because We Care” show of citizen appreciation for workers on the frontlines in the battle against the coronavirus.
New Yorkers were encouraged to sing along from their windows, rooftops, fire escapes, and terraces, and a recording of the song was simulcast on WKCR 89.9FM and WBAI 99.5 FM.
That version of “New York, New York” was the 1979 pop hit recorded by the late Frank Sinatra. The song, however, originated in Martin Scorsese’s 1977 film of the same name starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro, and the song, written by the iconic duo John Kander and Fred Ebb, was sung by Minnelli.
More than a few gay fans — and members — of the choir took note that Sinatra shoved Minnelli out of the way for the April 16 sing-along.
Well tomorrow evening, May 14, at 7:02 p.m., justice finally arrives. The choir, led by Robert René Galván, in its fifth and final sing-along will perform the Minnelli version, joined again by WKCR and WBAI and all those New Yorkers hanging out of their windows or lodged on their rooftops, terraces, or fire escapes. The choir has sung other tunes on Thursday evenings since the tradition’s debut last month, but in the circumstances we all face today revisiting “New York, New York” can never happen often enough.
Anyone who records themselves singing along is encouraged to share the video on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook using the hashtag #NewYorkSingsAlong.
The Peace of Heart Choir partners with social service agencies to perform free concerts for communities and individuals in need — in shelters, hospitals, senior housing facilities, and homes and workplaces for New Yorkers with disabilities.
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