Songs for Hope goes virtual

November 1, 2021 - 12:00am -- Living City

Songs for Hope goes virtual

Daring to Care through an online concert on Instagram

Music brings people together. But how can we do that when the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic restricts in-person gatherings? The solution I found was to organize an online concert that not only entertains the people in my community, but also helps a local social project.

I’m from Porto Alegre, Brazil, and part of the young adults of the Focolare. When I was a sophomore in high school, I launched the Songs for Hope project in 2018. I would host yearly concerts on campus and raise food donations for local NGOs. When the pandemic hit, I could no longer organize the event in person. Thanks to technology, however, I decided to adapt the event and organize it virtually. 

Earlier this year in May, I learned that another young person from Focolare in my city started a project in May called Troque a Fome por Flor (“Swap Hunger for a Flower”). The project aims to encourage the homeless to generate their own income by selling flowers. 

Since I found this project so creative and inspiring, I decided to organize this year’s Songs for Hope event as an online concert and raise money for their cause. On July 15, I hosted an Instagram live, where different young people used their musical talents to perform, and we encouraged people to donate. When the event finished, we had raised 300 Brazilian Reals (US$60), and this amount was enough to purchase 10 flower boxes for a whole week of sales! 

The experience of preparing and hosting the Songs for Hope event virtually was wonderful! After finishing the live concert on my Instagram, I was so happy and fulfilled because, although there was a small audience and there were technical issues during the event itself, I truly felt Jesus in our midst, even if we were physically apart. 

I’m beyond grateful to everyone who participated, and I’m beyond pleased to see how this simple act of love could bear so much fruit within our local community. I look forward to hosting the event again, since it shows how music, amid so much pain and discouragement, can continue to foster unity and hope in our hearts. 

Mariela Sol Torroba Hennigen