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Nurse Choir Inspires the Nation on ‘America’s Got Talent’

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Key Takeaways

  • The Northwell Health Nurse Choir appeared on the season premiere of America’s Got Talent in June 2021.
  • The troupe joined forces in 2020 to find inspiration and hope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Their rendition of “Lean on Me/Stand by Me” earned them the first ‘Golden Buzzer’ of 2021.

During the season premiere of America’s Got Talent on June 1, 2021, a choral group composed of nurses from Northwell Health received the first Golden Buzzer of the season. 

The troupe of 18 frontline nurses joined forces in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the United States. Members of the Northwell Health nursing community joined Nurse Heroes, a nonprofit organization founded by philanthropists, celebrities, and influencers to show support for the nursing community and to prevent nursing shortages in the country. The organization put together a celebrity concert with performances by world-renowned musicians–and the Northwell Health Nurse Choir. 

The pandemic helped shine a light on the role of essential workers nationwide, the Northwell Health Nurse Choir wanted to band together to send a message of support, hope and inspiration for the entire world to hear, which is why they chose to audition for the Nurse Heroes concert. 

Members of the newfound Nurse Choir did not know each other before joining their voices to perform at Nurse Heroes. Northwell Health, located throughout the New York City metropolitan area, spans across 23 hospitals. The nurses in the group are from various nursing specialties and areas of New York.

Inspired by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, and fueled by the performance at the Nurse Heroes concert, the group decided to band together to send a message of support, hope and inspiration for the entire world to hear. 

“After everything we have been through during the pandemic, we want to show that together we can rise up, we can support each other and we can get through any challenge we may face,” said Emanuel Remilus, nurse at Cohen Children’s Medical Center and member of the choir.

Upon learning that they were headed to Hollywood to audition for America’s Got Talent, the Nurse Choir rehearsed together, in person, after having several practices virtually. And with only 90-seconds to impress, donned in their scrubs, not a dry eye was seen after the group performed their rendition of “Lean On Me/Stand By Me”  in front of the judges: Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell. 

The performance earned a standing ovation from the judges and thunderous applause from the crowd. The judges were amazed at the performance, but the words of Howie Mandel struck a particularly poignant note among the healthcare workers who fought the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“There’s one word that comes to mind, and it’s ‘heroic’,” he said, “in every way. And what a perfect song, ‘Stand by Me’. You stand by people you don’t know, you watch horror, and you watch strength, and I thought, ‘I just want to stand by you!’”

Mandel was so moved by the performance that he pressed the Golden Buzzer for the choir, sending them directly to the live show in Hollywood in August and bypassing the upcoming audition rounds. 

“Honestly, it was a blur on-stage once the judges hit that Golden Buzzer – I couldn’t believe it,” said member Winnie Mele, director of perioperative services at Plainview Hospital. “From the ICUs to Hollywood, look at how far we’ve come!”

The group will return to the America’s Got Talent stage for the live shows beginning in August. 

References

  1. Ng E. Northwell Health Nurse Choir shines on America’s Got Talent. Northwell Health. Published June 1, 2021. Accessed June 2, 2021. 
  2. Introducing the Northwell Health Nurse Choir. Northwell Health. Accessed June 2, 2021. 
  3. Cohn P. Watch the ‘heroic’ act that earned Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer on the America’s Got Talent premiere. Parade. Published June 2, 2021. Accessed June 2, 2021. 
  4. Messina V. This Nurse Choir earned the AGT Golden Buzzer with a moving “Lean on Me” performance. PopSugar. Published June 2, 2021. Accessed June 2, 2021. 

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