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30 min Updates –‘We Need to Keep our Spirits up’: NYC Accordionist Brings Hope to Neighbors During Pandemic Through His Music

‘We Need to Keep our Spirits up’: NYC Accordionist Brings Hope to Neighbors During Pandemic Through His Music

One New Yorker is using his musical talents to entertain neighbors during the pandemic – all from the brownstone stoop of his apartment.

Paul Stein, a retired attorney, and political activist saw people around the world uniting from their balconies and through windows, according to The Associated Press.

So he created a soundstage in front of his Brooklyn home where he plays accordion…offering comfort to his neighbors who have been on lock-down from COVID-19.

“I saw people in France and Italy banging pots and pans out their windows, clapping and singing from balconies,” he said. “I wanted to do this in my neighborhood. “

Stein routinely sings and plays during the evening for health care and front-line workers – sometimes playing for 45 minutes.

“For as long as people have been hanging out on their stoops and socializing with their neighbors, they’ve been doing it from their stoops,” he said. “The natural acoustics of the narrow street bring the music to my neighbors.”

The 71-year-old calls his concerts “Emergency Accordion Stoop Extravaganza,” or “EASE.” He wears a fancy construction helmet with the words “Accordion Extravaganza” on the front and “Keep Back Six Feet” on the back.

“I’m doing mostly instrumentals…a polka, a tango, the ‘Hokey Pokey,’ and other fun things,” he said. “Sometimes ‘This Land is Your Land;’ ‘La Cucaracha,’ the Mexican hat dance; Bill Withers’ ‘Lean on Me.’ People like up-tempo things.”

Locals Madeline Chang and Tim Sozen dance to Stein’s music while standing on a small slab of concrete in their front yard.

“We were inspired because the music is so wonderful … so powerful,” Chang said. “It’s its own language.”

Stein hopes that his concerts are bringing people together and lifting their spirits during these challenging times.

“I try to come up with songs of hope, Stein said. “We need to keep our spirits up.”

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