On Tuesday, December 11th, SING FOR HOPE united young artists from Queens and Haiti for an afternoon of performance, collaboration, and community-building through the universal language of the arts.
The ANDREA BOCELLI FOUNDATION’S “Voices of Haiti” Choir, which performed with Mr. Bocelli
at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN the following night, exchanged performances and stories with the middle school choir at IS 10 Horace Greeley, one of 180 Sing for Hope partner schools.
“Since I was a young boy waiting for my chance each week to play the church organ, I’ve believed in the power of the arts, especially for a child. This passion led me to create the Andrea Bocelli Foundation and to join the Sing for Hope Board of Directors, and I continue to be inspired by their growing work using the arts to build a better world. The ‘Voices of Haiti’ Choir’s collaboration with Sing for Hope represents our united purpose to support creative education programs and to build community through the arts, starting with our young people,” says Andrea Bocelli.
After welcoming remarks from SING FOR HOPE Co-Founder Monica Yunus and IS 10 Principal Clemente Lopes, each choir took the stage in front of the entire student body of Horace Greeley School. The atmosphere was one of unabashed support across cultural and language barriers, with thunderous applause for each performance.
After the performance, Sing for Hope provided a forum for the young singers to share their experiences, with Voices of Haiti Music Director Wenson Delice and IS 10Q Music Teacher Amanda Stallone translating. The students bonded over everything from climate differences to whether they get nervous to perform.
The half-day choir exchange went far beyond merely showcasing each group’s clear musical talent. Over the course of three hours, the two choirs progressed from distinct groups sitting on two sides of the auditorium, to singing for each other, singing with each other, sharing a meal, teaching each other their favorite songs despite a language barrier, and giving emotional hugs goodbye.
The choirs even collaborated on an impromptu performance of “Dona Nobis Pacem” when they realized both knew the Latin song (neither choir’s first language). This unplanned moment was a poignant symbol of Sing for Hope and the ANDREA BOCELLI FOUNDATION‘s shared missions, particularly because the lyrics translate to “give us peace.”
The Voices of Haiti Choir was created through the Andrea Bocelli Foundation’s collaboration with the Haitian partner Foundation St Luc., an organization serving children ages nine through fifteen coming from the most vulnerable areas of Haiti. The choir program provides first-class musical training and the opportunity to travel abroad, as well as comprehensive education in a classroom setting. Since 2016, the ‘Voices of Haiti’ Choir has performed at venues reserved for the world’s most illustrious artists and audiences, including NYC’s Radio City Music Hall and a concert for Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Sing for Hope now works in over 10% of NYC’s public schools, 50 of them new partnerships this school year, including IS 10Q. Each selected school receives an artist-created Sing for Hope Piano as well as a “Citizen Artistry Curriculum” program that helps educators empower students to use creativity and the arts to enact positive social change. Hosting the Voices of Haiti Choir only weeks after their inaugural assembly, the students of IS 10 have already proven themselves to be committed Citizen Artists, and the Voices of Haiti students matched their warm welcome with kindness and support.
“We founded Sing for Hope with a goal of making the arts accessible to everyone in every community. The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and Voices of Haiti Choir share that belief in the power of the arts to transform and uplift,” state Sing for Hope Co-Founders Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora. “This collaboration of young artists from the Voices of Haiti Choir and from our Citizen Artist School, Horace Greeley, so embodies our mission. These aren’t future artists or future change-makers. They’re current artists, and they’re building community now.”
About Sing for Hope: Since 2006, SING FOR HOPE has harnessed the power of the arts to create a better world. Through dynamic education, healthcare, and global initiatives, Sing for Hope activates creativity in schools, hospitals, refugee camps, and public spaces for millions of people worldwide. We champion art for all because we believe the arts have an unmatched capacity to uplift, unite, and heal.
About The Andrea Bocelli Foundation: The ANDREA BOCELLI FOUNDATION (ABF) was established by Maestro Andrea Bocelli and his family with the mission to “empower people and communities.” In line with this, ABF is committed to help people which face challenges as a result of illness, poverty conditions or social exclusion, promoting and supporting national and international projects as well as encouraging full self-expression and breaking barriers. The Foundation is headquartered in Florence, Italy, but works in different countries through two main programs: Break the Barriers, which promotes projects to assist people in developing countries, and in any case people in situations of poverty, illness, and complex social problems that invalidate or reduce the quality of life; and Challenges, which aims to bring together the best minds to find innovative solutions to help people cope with and overcome the limits imposed by their disability/discomfort.