GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — COVID-19 has impacted nearly every facet of life, and for many families it's been very hard. Through job loss, health concerns, and social distancing, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital is reminding the community to stay strong.
After a post late last week on the hospital's Facebook page, the music therapy team came up with a creative idea called a "virtual choir."
"Knowing that a lot of the patients and families at Spectrum Health hospitals are missing the visitors that they'd normally have at this time, we wanted to find a way we could still bring people to them," said Bridget Sova, who is a music therapist at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.
On the post, Sova asked people to sing and/or play the song, "Lean on Me," which was first made famous by musician, Bill Withers in 1972. Participants were asked to have their performances video recorded then uploaded to YouTube so they could be retrieved by Sova for the project.
"We had 43 submissions and a total of 64 people singing the song," Sova said. "We got videos from California, South Carolina and, of course, from around the West Michigan area."
Earlier this week, Sova and her staff at the hospital began editing the clips together, using parts of the song from every submission. The video was finished Tuesday, went live on the hospital's Facebook page Wednesday morning.
"Many of the submissions were very creative," Sova explained. "Some danced during their video, while others did sign language or played instruments in certain parts."
Sova says she even reached out to members of the Grand Rapids Civic Theater and singers from local bands to contribute their talents to the project.
"The message is simple: Though COVID-19 has kept us apart, in reality, we are closer now than ever before," Sova said.
“Music really does have healing powers, and we all could benefit from a smile right about now," Sova said. “My hope is that the virtual choir would lift spirits for patients inside the hospital and create a sense of community for friends and family who aren’t able to visit right now.”
This is the second time the community has used "Lean on Me" to garner support. An a capella group at Grand Valley State University created their own video to spread messages of positivity during the challenging times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check out these other heartwarming stories during the COVID-19 pandemic:
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- Residents at Grand Rapids condo complex say thank you to health care workers by waving American flag off balconies
- Grand Rapids priest fills empty pews with photos for Mass
- Forest Kindergarten gets 'outrageous' with its 'distance learning'
- Ravenna valedictorian gets a graduation surprise
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