Mayor’s office brings live performances to vaccination sites with launch of ‘Music Heals’ program

Those looking to get vaccinated can enjoy some live music at select city-run vaccination sites.
Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

A handful of the city’s vaccination sites will play host to special performances for those looking to get the jab — and those distributing it!

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and AFM Local 802 have launched “Music Heals,” a new program where musicians are paid to play for vaccine recipients and healthcare workers. The program follows in the footsteps of the Music for the Soul of NYC’s Health + Hospitals Heroes, a series launched by NYC Health + Hospitals, MOME and Local 802 AFM in spring 2020, in which local musicians performed virtually to support staff and patients at the city’s public hospitals.

“Understanding the value that art and music can have on healing, it’s only fitting that we now bring live performances to our COVID-19 vaccination sites across the City, all the while thanking the healthcare heroes who have played a vital role in our recovery,” said Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog. “More and more New Yorkers will be able to enjoy these live performances in their more traditional setting in no time as more people roll up their sleeve for a vaccination.” 

The Music Heals performances will take place at 11 different city-run vaccination sites across the five boroughs through June 20. Each performance will be one hour long and is meant to thank the staff and those who are being treated at the vaccine sites while reminding New Yorkers about the music, theatre and live performances that help define the city’s culture.

The program also aims to give musicians fair wages and benefits under union guidelines as many participating musicians have lost out on income due to the pandemic.

“We’re proud that our city’s diverse musicians are providing live music to encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated, which is the key to re-opening NYC,” said Adam Krauthamer, president of AFM Local 802. “We’re extremely thankful to the city for investing in this excellent program, which lets the public enjoy great music for a great cause.”  

“Music Heals supports local musicians, and lets every New Yorker working at a vaccination site know how much we appreciate them,” said the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo. “In many ways, this is a celebration of New Yorkers doing their part to ensure a strong reopening, while reminding us of the creativity and culture that is so core to the city’s identity.”

And there’s a health benefit, too, said the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Dave A. Chokshi.

“Music and vaccination are a harmonious pairing as both promote the health of New Yorkers,” he said. “The vaccination hubs are places of joy and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate them than with song.” 

Music Heals will kick off at 2 pm on May 7 at 138th Street and Amsterdam Avenue near the City College of New York vaccination site. A full list of participating vaccination sites can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/MusicHeals.

This story first appeared on AMNY.com.