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NYers Of The Week: Monica Yunus And Camille Zamora Work Year Round To Connect Art To City

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If you're a New Yorker, you've probably already heard music from Sing for Hope, the group that put 88 pianos on city streets the last few summers, giving anyone the chance to tickle the ivories. It's just a part of their mission to bring the arts to all five boroughs. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report, which was shot, written and edited by Rachel Smith.

Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora know how to get New Yorkers singing.

The women founded Sing for Hope, the nonprofit most known for adding 88 pianos to New York's landscape in the summer. But they don't just make music in the summertime.

"The mission of the organization is to make arts accessible to everyone, and that means all five boroughs, so we really try to spread it across," Yunus says.

That means bringing together more than 1,000 volunteer artists to perform at schools, hospitals, firehouses, anywhere in need of a song.

Sing for Hope's youth choir gathered on a recent weekday at Bryant Park to sing carols for commuters.

In Flatiron, it meant bringing live opera to the United Cerebral Palsy's care center.

"I love these moments when you can have just focus in a room, and everybody's participating and making music," says Rebecca Ringle, an opera singer and a volunteer. "I will love that 'til the day I die."

"I just loved to be that interactive, to be joy, to be some healing moment in people's day," says Monique McDonald, an opera singer and a volunteer.

It's a moment shared by everyone in the room, including Cheryl Morris Johnson, who performed for the performers.

"It almost made me cry when they started doing it," she says. "It's a joyful feeling for me."

That feeling is what Sing for Hope is all about.

The group also spreads cheer with puppets, painters and circus acts.

"It's about communicating and expressing yourself through an art form," Yunus said.

"I think that the arts are so much a part of what makes us human and just a simple and easy way for people to connect," Zamora said.

So, for connecting art to the city all year round, Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora are our New Yorkers of the Week.


For more information about volunteer opportunities with Sing for Hope, visit

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