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Music

Barbra Streisand urges relief for essential workers — through song

“You’ll Never Walk Alone” is having a moment, but Barbra Streisand is eternal.

In a new video posted to her YouTube channel, the singer, known for her exceedingly rare live vocal performances, used the song to laud those working through the coronavirus pandemic.

While the video, with its images of healthcare workers, grocery store cashiers and delivery people, is new, the rendition is not, using footage and vocals from a concert for an earlier crisis: 9/11.

As Babs wrote at the top of the video, “the words still apply.”

They do. As lyricist Oscar Hammerstein wrote, by walking on “through the storm,” we will one day reach our “golden sky” and the “sweet silver song of a lark.” Thanks to Streisand, who is backed by a chorus in the clip, we do have a sweet song. But there is hope beyond that.

The video shows newborn babies, people being discharged from hospitals and handmade signs praising our heroes.

The song will still likely melt you into a teary puddle and frankly, we commend Streisand for not doing a new recording, as any new output from the seldom-heard vocalist could risk upstaging those the video has been made to honor. She took care not to make herself the focus, with most of the video emphasizing both the heroics of our essential workers and the toll their vital work is taking on so many of them.

At the end of the video, Streisand urges her fans to donate to Direct Relief, which “supplies protective gear to all our heroes in the United States.”

Direct Relief, as the name suggests, is a direct way to make a difference. Plus, we all know the word of Barbra is near to that of God — or at least all of our mothers.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture fellow. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.

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