Monday, December 22, 2014

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NYer Of The Week: Singer Brings Music To Homebound Seniors

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For many seniors who are homebound in the city, live music is a luxury they have had to give up, but this week's New Yorker doesn't see it that way. NY1's John Schiumo has the story.

Once a week, live music awakens hundreds of homebound seniors like 91-year-old Regina.

"When I was singing professionally I always felt something missing," New Yorker of the Week Jennifer Finn said. "Before I would go to a job, I would perform music for a nursing home audience. "I would sing for them and I would leave there feeling so much joy. I would feel this joy that would like, come out of my belly."

In search of that feeling, Jennifer started visiting homebound seniors.

The word spread, and in 2009 she started Concerts in Motion, a nonprofit that now has a network of 250 professional musicians.

"We all started to play music because we love doing it and we love performing for people who would clap for us," musician Suzy Perelman said. "So much of what we do is either in the recording studio or in the practice room or in the pit, and we don't get so much recognition. So to play for people who are actually right there clapping at you is incredible."

The program also includes young musicians, who get to practice their instruments while entertaining their elders.

"It is just the most wonderful thing, just like a vitamin shot," homebound senior Georgeann Sohn said. "It's so better, you can't describe it -- to be in your home and have them come and love you."

Each visit lasts 30 minutes, enough time to lift the spirits of the audience and the musician.

"I think if I weren't a musician, I would be a social worker," Finn said. "I get to sing whenever I want, I get to see people I care about and touch their hearts."

So, for giving the gift of music to brighten the lives of homebound New Yorkers, Jennifer Finn is our New Yorker of the Week.

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