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10-12 times a month, Opera Collective sends small groups of singers to New York City subway stations to perform.

Founded in 2005 by opera singer George Kasarjian and a few of his friends, Opera Collective is a rotating group of 30 trained opera voices in New York City. The performers are in different stages of their careers. Some are just starting out, others have spent years in the business, but they all share one goal: Make opera accessible.

And when you want to share something with the people of New York City, what better place to do it than the subway?


All photos by Opera Collective, used with permission.

It may not seem like the ideal venue to make music, but with ample acoustics and large audiences, Kasarjian wouldn't trade it.

"Oftentimes the subway is a loud environment with all kinds of distractions. But there are these moments between trains and between screaming people where beautiful, profound musical moments happen."

And Monday night, Sept. 21, 2015, in the Union Square station, members of Opera Collective did something amazing without even knowing it at the time.


There was just something special about Monday's performance at Union Square.

"I recall all three of us performing our strongest repertoire ... and there were times during our stay there that we had quite a crowd," said Alexis Cregger, an Opera Collective performer.

She saw a woman sitting and listening for quite awhile. "Any time anyone stays for longer than the time it takes to catch their train, it lifts our spirits, as it shows we're really touching someone," she told Upworthy.

Turns out, they did just that. And a whole lot more.

When the group finished singing, they found this note in their tip bucket:

The note reads: "I sat and listened to you 3 sing for maybe over an hour. You guys are amazing. Today was one of the worst days of my life and I was contemplating suicide but your voices filled me with a peaceful sensation and joy. Thank you. Ana (girl in the pink vest)."

This wasn't the first time they'd received a note like this.

Opera Collective performers have received warm displays of gratitude in the past, Kasarjian says, speaking from personal experience, "I've had people just come up to me and just cry on me in the subway; people who you would never think would react, they react very strongly."

Yet each time it occurs, it reinforces something for the performers and fans alike.

Cregger puts it best: "Music truly has the power to touch people's souls."

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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