NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – As we enter the New Year with Omicron raging, we could all use a little reassurance.
Some artists on the New York scene sang and performed an iconic song to do just that.
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CBS2’s Dana Tyler got the chance to tell them why they did it and why we need it.
It’s basically a New York song. Forty-five years ago, when Billy Joel wrote it – or a day like today, when the city really needs it, with the number of Omicron COVID cases skyrocketing, the nonprofit association lucrative NYCNext put the places and face of New York City in the video, hoping to inspire people to get involved and help the city get back on its feet.
Joseph Joubert had the honor – and a little bit of pressure – to play Joel’s ubiquitous chords in “New York State of Mind”.
“Usually we pianists are in the background. We don’t play a lot. So that was a moment of, well, ‘I’m going to have this moment. Let me enjoy it, ”Joubert said. “It was, you know, all the good things that could happen to a musician. “
Pianist, orchestrator and Grammy nominee on Broadway. The Harlem native was filmed in the iconic “jazz corner of the world” Birdland.
“Obviously I had played the track in the studio,” Joubert said. “But then I had to go play it back to myself and make it look like I’m playing. I mean, I was really playing them, but it was a trap that he’s a genius for, you know, videography and because they fit me pretty well.
NYCNext co-founder Maryam Banikarim said Billy Joel was gracious with permission to use her son and everyone on the project was generous with their time.
“Really, we are all bound by our love for this city and the arts, so thank you guys very much for everything,” Banikarim said.
NYCNext formed in August 2020, offering pop-up performances in the city for art-hungry audiences, while Broadway and the arts community have been shut down by COVID.
“It’s a grassroots voluntary movement. It was as if desperation comes from the goal, ”Banikarim said.
Pulitzer Prize winner and Tony Award winning musician, composer and conductor Tom Kitt produced the video, organizing who sings what, when and where.
“And also inspiring and motivating civic engagement,” Tyler said.
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“Yeah… I think it doesn’t matter how you want to support the city, whether it’s, you know, shopping local, eating at your local restaurant, you know, donate your time, donate money. You know, we know it’s by coming together that we win, ”Banikarim said.
After being drawn to the video on the NYCNext homepage, Banikarim is hoping you will want to support municipal service organizations. She says there are many ways to make a difference at this critical time.
LaGuardia High School’s 2021 class Anais Reno has been performing with bold names in well-known venues since they were 10 years old. From the heights of Times Square, this is the first lip-sync for the jazz singer. She’s thrilled to be a part of this all-star effort that embraces a struggling New York City.
“I thought NYCNext was something we all needed, even though we didn’t know we needed it,” Reno said. “And so to put this project together and encourage people to help workers and help artists and all the people who are the foundation of our community, as New Yorkers and as people in general, no matter where you are. are, I think it was so important. “
“What do you see when you see this clip? Tyler asked.
“What excites me the most when I watch him is pianist Joseph Joubert,” Reno said. “He recorded at Birdland, which is my second home, corny as that sounds. And this club is probably the place that represents New York and its values the strongest for me, in my personal experience of having been there. “
Outside of Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library, baritone Brian Stokes Mitchell sang for his city.
“What was it doing?” Tyler asked.
“It was like the building. It was big, grandiose, gigantic and historic, ”he said.
Tony Winner is also chairman of The Actors Fund, which provides services to the entertainment community, particularly affected during the pandemic. Mitchell is happy that she decided to be featured in NYCNext’s video love letter urging us to be a part of the next New York City right now.
“How can people help? Tyler asked.
“Anyway, I think we all come to this planet with gifts,” Mitchell said. “And it’s an opportunity to use whatever you have as a gift, it can be accounting, it can be numbers, it can be a service to people, it can be catering, it can help with food, it could be public relations, it could sing a song or present something or play one of the instruments… it can uplift people in a different way by doing something for your church.
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“It’s amazing what we humans can accomplish. When we put all of our minds together to solve a problem, ”he added.