Northwell Health Nurse Choir, a choir of 18 frontline nurses working at different hospitals in Long Island’s Northwell Health system, earned the Golden Buzzer for their America’s Got Talent, season 16, audition. Their live quarterfinals performance got them voted into the semifinals in which they will perform on September 7.
Audition and Golden Buzzer
None of the nurses knew each other when they joined the then virtual Northwell Health Nurse Choir to support Nurse Heroes in the fall of 2020. Nurse Heroes is a nonprofit working to raise awareness about nursing and to raise funds for nurse scholarships.
Northwell Health chose 18 singers to be part of the choir auditioning for AGT in the season’s premiere on June 1. They performed a medley of “Lean on Me” and “Stand by Me,” which got a standing ovation from the judges.
“We need you. The world needs you,” said judge Simon Cowell. “It’s going to touch many people. People are going to remember this audition. I’m going to remember this audition.”
Judge Howie Mundell described the performance as heroic in every way and believed that the song’s words of “Stand by Me” were perfect for what the nurses did. This was before he hit the Golden Buzzer, moving the choir straight to the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals to Semifinals
Next, the choir performed live in the quarterfinals in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on August 18. They sang “You will be found” from Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen.
Once again, they were praised by all four of the judges but had a nail-biting wait for the announcement of the public voting on the following day. The choir made it through to the semifinals and will compete against 21 other contestants for one of 10 places in the AGT finals.
“I love you. I love what you did last night. I love what you do for the world in your day job,” Howie Mandel told them after the results were announced.
“This is such a huge opportunity for us to be able to represent the nursing profession on such a huge stage,” replied one to the choir members, Emanuel Remilus. “I just hope that our message of hope really carries us through these rough times.”
Choir Wants to Bring Light and Hope
Through their music, the choir wants to bring light and hope amid the COVID epidemic. Every song they perform has a message that they wish to send to patients, their families, and other nurses.
“The overall message is even though nurses and health care workers and everybody around the world were in such a dark place because of COVID and the pandemic, no matter what, you always have to find the light and the hope in situations like this. Because what else can you do?” explained choir member Christian Montanez.
Being part of the choir appears to mean a lot to its members. “The Choir has been healing and hopeful for us,” Winnie Mele said. “We know there are a lot of us out there that are still hurting, and we are hoping to shoot out some joy and some love and to let them know we found our resilience, and we are hoping that they will do as well.”
Be sure to support the Northwell Health Nurse Choir when performing in the AGT semifinals on September 7.