Mariachi serenades COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers in NY

New York is a COVID-19 hotspot

Mariachi band serenades COVID-19 patients and frontline healthcare workers in NY
The band has visited hospitals fighting the COVID-19 pandemic - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 08/05/2020 16:08 Ariadna García Mexico City Actualizada 16:52

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Chaos and fear have been present in New York because of the COVID-19 death toll. Over 500 Mexicans have died from coronavirus in that American city.

To relieve their pain, give hope, and say goodbye to the patients, the Nuevo Amanecer Mariachi Academy is giving serenades in hospitals and funerals of Mexicans who died because of the pandemic.

Valentín Martínez is from Atlixco, Puebla. He has lived in New York for 18 years and is the founder of the Nuevo Amanecer Mariachi.

Recently, the teachers of the academy have given serenades outside hospitals to give hope to frontline healthcare workers and patients fighting COVID-19.

Wearing their mariachi suit, the violin, the guitar, the guitarrón, and the trumpet, among other instruments, they have played the Son de la Negra and Cielito Lindo to lift the spirits at the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and the Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn.

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Nevertheless, they also accompanied Ángel Rodríguez Ayala, a fellow citizen from Puebla, who passed away from COVID-19.

New York has become the global coronavirus hotspot. It has over 20,000 deaths and hospitals are still overcrowded by the number of patients infected with the new disease.

Teachers from the Mariachi Academy have given serenades outside hospitals.

The Latinx community has been the worst affected by the pandemic.

Five years ago, Valentín Martínez opened the Nuevo Amanecer Mariachi Academy that has eight teachers who have joined the serenades.

“We have already given more than two serenades; the last one was in Brooklyn and there are already several hospitals that want us to do the same, and not only hospitals but supermarkets too.

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“This is to have a good time for a while, what else can we do?,” said Valentín.

The idea came from a friend who contracted COVID-19 and recovered.

“The serenades were the idea of a friend who had the virus and recovered. He told me: ‘Hey, why don’t you go to the hospital? I want you to go there and give a serenade.’ Moreover, in New York, people applaud outside hospitals at 7 am and 7 pm to thank [healthcare workers].”

Serenades outside hospitals are done with the approval of the medical staff and this mariachi band began to take their instruments wearing not only their suit but face masks and hand sanitizer as protection.

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They began at the hospital with most cases, the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, to which taxi drivers took patients and ended up being infected.

“It has been amazing because people have liked it a lot, mainly those who are waiting outside the hospitals,” said Valentín Martínez in an interview.

They have included the U.S. National Anthem in their repertoire to lift the spirits of the American community. They have also homaged the Latinx community with a special emphasis on Mexico.

And from the serenades in hospitals, they went to funerals.

“The pain is unbearable here and I also want my fellow Mexican citizens to take this seriously,” he added.

The funeral was not crowded. The mariachi did not enter the chapel where the vigil for Ángel Rodríguez Ayala was held.

“There is so much fear; we want to make people happy while we go back to normality,” added Valentín Martínez.

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