Two musicians in New York are hosting virtual concerts that have raised thousands of dollars for their local food pantry.
David Shenton and Erin Shields are touring musicians who have lost gigs worldwide this past year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But when the married couple saw food pantry lines wrapped around their block, they decided they needed to help.
“When your entire industry shuts down, you think, ‘well, how are we going to do this?’ Seeing the people in line …, you go, ‘I can be that person and that could be my family member’,” Shields said.
“I thought, I’m not a doctor … I don’t really have much to offer. But then I thought, well, you know, we can perform.”
So Shields, a soprano, and Shenton, a composer, pianist and violinist, started hosting virtual concerts to raise money for the food pantry at Mosaic West Queens Church.
Their talented friends in Broadway also joined the good cause.
“We have all these connections to Broadway singers outside of their work on Broadway, so we wanted to capitalize on that,” Shenton said.
Among the performers were Broadway musicians known for their work in everything from “Hamilton” and “The Little Mermaid” to “Tootsie” and “Les Misérables.”
“It’s just something my mom always said: ‘If you’re feeling low, volunteer, give back to other people, because it will make you feel better’,” Shields said. “And it’s so true.”