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Anne Azzi Davenport
Anne Azzi Davenport
With much of the world retreating under threat of the novel coronavirus, art serves as a salve in this time of need. As Jeffrey Brown found, art pops up in unexpected places and spreads online, bringing people together even as they are keeping themselves apart.
We thought we would to close tonight with a story of hope, how, in these trying times, people are creatively using the arts, like song, to come together, even in the face of social distancing.
It is a reminder of the power of humanity even during hardship.
Jeffrey Brown has our look, as part of our ongoing arts and culture series, Canvas.
Broadway may be dark and silent, but in the digital world, there is music in the time of coronavirus.
And the show, in that way, goes on. "A Chorus Line" rehearsal from NYU students eager to pick up where they left off, a song from the musical "Urinetown" by a middle schooler, and a performance of "One More Day" from the musical "Les Miserables" at Blind Brook High School in New York.
This last video and many others like it were posted to #sunshinesongs, started by Broadway veteran Laura Benanti, a Tony Award-winning actress and singer who found herself sidelined and thought of young people facing their own canceled shows, for which they have put in so much work.
She put the word: Send me your song videos.
I want to see you. I want to hear it.
And the responses have come in.
In the meantime, in the land of bel canto opera, Italy is all but shut down. But that can't stop the music. Here, quarantined tenor Maurizio Marchini sang to his neighbors in Florence, the famous aria "Nessun dorm" from Puccini's "Turandot."
And in a rather remarkable performance set to the same song in a recording by the late, great Luciano Pavarotti, the Italian Air Force used colored smoke to paint Italy's flag in the sky.
All around the country, there were impromptu moments of song and pleasure.
In Spain, also hard-hit by the virus, music helped residents of an apartment house join together for some exercise, even as they maintained their social distancing.
Back in this country, there was this, a New Hampshire Police Association pipe and drum group. Their tour of Ireland had been canceled. Instead, they went to a local Walmart, a moment of relief for all of us, even staring at empty shelves of toilet paper.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown.
Boy, did we sure need that.
Thank you, Jeff.
Watch the Full Episode
In his more than 30-year career with the NewsHour, Brown has served as co-anchor, studio moderator, and field reporter on a wide range of national and international issues, with work taking him around the country and to many parts of the globe. As arts correspondent he has profiled many of the world's leading writers, musicians, actors and other artists. Among his signature works at the NewsHour: a multi-year series, “Culture at Risk,” about threatened cultural heritage in the United States and abroad; the creation of the NewsHour’s online “Art Beat”; and hosting the monthly book club, “Now Read This,” a collaboration with The New York Times.
Anne Azzi Davenport is the Senior Coordinating Producer of CANVAS at PBS NewsHour.
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