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Sing for Hope: Bringing Music and Joy to Public Spaces

The Vision

Sing for Hope is a creative program designed to bring “hope, healing, and connection to millions of people in hospitals, care facilities, schools, refugee camps, transit hubs, and community spaces worldwide” (SFH Website). Established in New York City following the events of 9/11, Sing for Hope essentially collaborates with community-based organizations to manufacture artist-designed Sing for Hope Pianos distributed across the US and globally.

These pianos are placed in public areas, enabling individuals to freely engage in music. The organization holds a steadfast belief in the ability of the arts to cultivate connections, facilitate healing, and inspire joy, especially during challenging times. Sing for Hope’s endeavors span a range of artistic disciplines, such as music, visual arts, and performance, to foster positive social change through artistic expression and community involvement.

The Sing for Hope project believes “the arts have an unmatched capacity to uplift, unite, and heal” (SFH Website). Here at CNU, we believe in arts for all. So, our Ferguson Center for the Arts and Torggler Fine Arts Center partnered up with the City of Newport News to bring this project into our home. This project has never been done before in a small market like Newport News, so our efforts will be the first of its kind! Bruce Bronstein,  the Executive Director of the Ferguson Center, was inspired by the transformation this project brings to communities, and has a desire to “more intimately work with the community to make sure that we are fulfilling our mission of bringing the arts to everyone.” He hopes that this unique project will “spread well beyond the walls of our theaters and museums throughout the Newport News community and reach people in ways we can’t even predict in advance.”

The Artists

The selected artists each submitted a design online, which was sent to a panel of local experts through the Torggler who selected the final designs. Among these artists is figurative painter Terry Cox-Joseph, whose design is pictured to the right. When recalling the inspiration for her design, Terry said, “I love animals and nature, I thought it would be fun for the pianists to play looking at those images.” Similarly, another featured artist, Robert Elliot (who’s been painting for over fifty years), was inspired by Western-style pianos from California ghost towns seen on the left. In regards to the ‘cat’ design, he said “Most parents tell kids ‘don’t touch,’ so I wanted to create something that you know kids could jump on and play.”

What’s To Come

On March 28th, we’ll be hosting a free community concert by Broadway composer and pianist Drew Petersen to launch the release of the pianos, and they will be on display in the Diamonstein Lobby. You can grab tickets online at or the ticket office in the Peebles Theatre Lobby. There will also be CNU Student pop-up performances, more information can be found on our website calendar.

Once the kickoff performance is finished, the pianos will be placed all over Newport News for the community to enjoy. The final destinations are Victory Landing Park, City Hall Plaza, Brittingham - Midtown Community Center, CNU Plaza, Mariners Museum Entrance, Riverview Farm Park, City Center Gazebo, Patrick Henry Mall, Denby Community Center, and Newport News Park. We’re hopeful that everyone has the chance to see these pianos and be delighted by listening, playing, and enjoying what’s been put together by these artists.

Written by: Emma Murphy

Photographs by: Emma Murphy

Newport News 2024 Sing for Hope Piano Artists:

Courtney Balingit

Jay Bordeaux

Terry Cox-Joseph

Carlton Emblidge with An Achievable Dream

Robert M Elliot

Candyce Harrell

Tiffany Murchison

Amy Queen & Sara Clapper

Peyton Townsend

Scot Turner


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