In times of uncertainty, such as these, it’s more important now than ever, that we as a nation come together to honor and support those who put the lives of others ahead of their own. April 30th will serve as a part of the “Worldwide Day of Gratitude”, a global effort coordinated by the student run organization, YOUnison. The day of gratitude is to thank those on the front line of the COVID-19 virus; such as healthcare workers, first responders, and all essential workers.
According to Bass Gear Magazine, Andrew E. Morrison, co-founder of YOUnison, says the student centered community wants to “show our gratitude, teachers, students, and people of all ages can use the power of music and the arts to unite to honor these amazing heroes.” YOUnison has caught the attention of many organizations now participating and collaborating in the global come together. Organizations including Arts Ed NJ, CMA Foundation, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, NAMM Foundation, and many more.
In recognition of the Worldwide Day of Gratitude, Joseph A. Foran’s own music teachers, Ms. Jessica Turner and Ms. Theresa Voss want to honor and recognize the song that has brought unity through these past weeks. Written and recorded by Bill Withers, his renowned song “Lean on Me” is being used as music symbolism to honor those fighting for us on the frontlines of the virus.
Both Voss and Turner, faculty members in the Foran Music Department, are having their choir and band students perform their own piece to Withers song, as an homage to the message that the song strives for. Voss says, “Sometimes in these situations if we are not those who are fighting on the front lines, we can feel helpless. But showing gratitude for those who are risking their lives for our safety is one thing we all are capable of, and this Worldwide Day of Gratitude helps us to channel that gratitude. We will be sharing many of those performances on social media tomorrow, as we give thanks through the arts.”
The campaign run by YOUnison has made #LeanOnUs a trending global thank you to those fighting to save our lives. When the Foran Music Department heard of the initiative, both Voss and Turner wanted to show their support and get their students involved as well. Turner says, “The connection between the Worldwide Day of Gratitude for our first responders, medical workers and essential employees and the Bill Withers song “Lean On Me” seemed like the perfect outlet for our music students to become engaged with a tremendous initiative that has given purpose to our work this week.”
We’ve seen many artists reach out to their fans during this time of social distancing and quarantine, with virtual shows or online performances to help create a shared experience. To give thanks tomorrow, videos from those in the Foran Band and Choir will be shared for both the Foran and Milford community to see and hear. Voss says, “We hope that, through our art offerings, we express our gratitude for those who are working for our safety, and we bring comfort and solace to those who are struggling.”