Connecting through Music

Jan Fowler

is author of the best-selling book, “Hot Chocolate for Seniors”(winner of national & international awards); winner of Gold Halo Award from the So. California Motion Picture Council for Outstanding Literary Achievement; winner of First Place Excellence in Journalism Award (SPJ –Southern CA); Town & Gown “Phenomenal Woman” Award; former television host & KSPA radio host of “Senior Living at its Best with Jan Fowler”; speaker, contributing author for “Savvy Women Revving Up for Success”; founder of Starburst Inspirations, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit which supports Redlands Drug Court. Jan welcomes feedback and comments about her columns and invites you to leave her a message on her website.

“Connecting through Music”

By Jan Fowler

In these anxiety-ridden times of social and emotional isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, sharing music is one way in which we can still feel connected to each other. And that is exactly what world-famous Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli did for us on Easter Sunday when he performed a sacred music concert in an empty cathedral in Milan, Italy, which was live-streamed to five million viewers worldwide. Bocelli uplifted and connected us.

He inspired us all with the message of hope because, when we face adversity, it’s all about reaching out and taking care of each other.  Bocelli said he was offering prayer for anyone who was suffering and a wish for their speedy recovery.

Music is a universal language, and for many viewers, Bocelli’s moving musical performance was a substitute for church.  It was a global event which transcended nationality, religion, and race–a deep emotional experience that made us feel unified (You may view it on YouTube.)

During these trying days, if we look around we will find numerous examples of people who are singing their hearts out–some out on their balconies, some performing on neighborhood sidewalks, others on television, all in an effort to express support for those suffering from deep emotional isolation.

For example, Neil Diamond rewrote Sweet Caroline to promote good handwashing techniques.   And Lori Marie Key, a Michigan nurse, inspired her colleagues during a shift-change by singing Amazing Grace to honor them.

Gloria Estefan created Put on your mask, a humorous interpretation of her 1989 hit song, Get On Your Feet, to remind people to wear their masks and to follow safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gloria said, “I wanted to contribute something that would put a bit of humor into a very serious situation because that’s what has helped me get through the toughest moments in my life.” I hope I make you smile while imparting an important message! Stay healthy, my people and to those suffering from this vile plague or those that have lost loved ones, you are in my prayers and thoughts continuously. We will get through this. (Instagram post)

Similarly, Maya Hawke, Stranger Things actress, accompanied and assisted by her family, prepared a modern version of the Von Trapp family singing.  And Pastor Joel Osteen inspired and uplifted us with a beautiful Easter message titled, Hope is Alive, in which he combined live and virtual choral and instrumental music, including a magnificent solo by Mariah Carey.

There are also many musicians out there who are using creative ways to promote spiritual healing by singing or playing instruments for patients in nursing homes from outside their windows – anything to uplift spirits.

Music is a message of hope. And it certainly gladdens our hearts to see the numerous musical charity fundraisers which are springing up across east coast, west coast, and middle America to help support those who are hard hit by loss of jobs, savings, and the deaths of family members.

I commend all those celebrities and non-celebs who are sharing their musical gifts and generosity of spirit with the world because Where words fail, music speaks. Hans Christian Andersen

[Jan Fowler is an award-winning columnist and author. She may be reached at]         

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