The Northwell Health Nurses Choir is one of 10 acts going through to the final round of NBC’s America’s Got Talent (AGT) next week.
The 18 singers are all nurses in the Northwell Health system, including several on Long Island. Though they work at many different hospitals on the Island and New York City, they came together to sing in 2020 to support their fellow nurses during the pandemic, forming a special bond that brought them to the AGT stage in California.
“I don’t think any of us thought we’d get this far,” Winnie Mele, a choir member and director of perioptical services at Plainview Hospital, told the Press. “We’ve already won because we got our message out — that we are nurses and no matter what is going on in this world, we will always be here for you and your families. Everything else now is icing [on the cake].”
Mele said she and the other nurse-singers were running on high energy Thursday morning after the results show Wednesday night revealed they would be participating in the finals. Rehearsal was about to start, and they were preparing their final song, which like their previous songs would convey the theme of lifting each other up through adversity.
The close-knit choir shares plenty of solemn moments together, recalling the height of the pandemic when they worked long hours, watched Covid patients die without loved ones by their side, and shifted roles to keep up with the influx of patients, for example.
“Every time we sing, all of that comes back,” Mele says. “We have these team meetings where we talk about where we’re at [mentally and emotionally]. We tell our stories and talk about the different things we did and different things we saw. There are a lot of tears but I think it’s very healthy.”
Mele noted that the choir members have been traveling back and forth from California to New York to compete on AGT and have received strong support from Northwell. “They have been behind us in everything,” she says. “We’re extremely grateful.”
The Northwell Health Nurses Choir will perform live on the AGT finale on Sept. 14, 8 p.m. EST on NBC. The results show is live the next evening.
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