MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: June 10, 2021

Tonight, attorney and author Mark Torres joins us to discuss his new book “Long Island Migrant Labor Camps: Dust for Blood” and the history of the farm labor camps that once could be found in great numbers across eastern Long Island. Also, Concerts In Motion founder and Executive Director Jennifer Finn discusses how they're bringing live music to socially isolated people throughout New York.

AIRED: June 10, 2021 | 0:28:39
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH

RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

>>"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

BY --

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN

GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE

AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND

BY --

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND

JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP

MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH

WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA

SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB

>>> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

I'M JACK FORD.

WHEN YOU THINK OF SUFFOLK COUNTY

ON THE EASTERN TIP OF LONG

ISLAND, CHANCES ARE YOU THINK OF

IMAGES SUCH AS WIND SWEPT

BEACHES AND QUAINT TOWNS AND

VILLAGES, LOVELY HOMES, EVEN

VINEYARDS.

BUT THERE IS A DARK AND

TROUBLING HISTORY TO THAT AREA

KNOWN BY VERY FEW.

THAT'S BECAUSE IN THE SECOND

HALF OF THE 20th CENTURY THAT

AREA WAS HOME TO MORE THAN 100

MIGRANT LABOR CAMPS, CAMPS IN

WHICH PEOPLE LIVED AND WORKED IN

SITUATIONS THAT WERE SIMILAR TO

OPPRESSIVE AND BRUTAL PRISON

ENVIRONMENTS.

BUT VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT

THAT TODAY.

WELL, THERE'S A NEW BOOK OUT

"LONG ISLAND, MIGRANT LABOR

CAT

CAMPS, DUST FOR BLOOD."

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE THE

AUTHOR JOINING US.

NOTED AUTHOR AND LAWYER MARK

TORRES.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THIS

LONG LOST STORY OF THESE VERY

DIFFICULT ENVIRONMENTS ON THIS

BEAUTIFUL AREA OF LONG ISLAND.

>> I'M FAMILIAR TOO WITH THE

BUCOLIC COUNTRYSIDE.

MY FAMILY VACATIONS THERE FOR

PROBABLY THE LAST 20 YEARS.

AN AVID HISTORY BUFF, I'M ALWAYS

LOOKING FOR MORE HISTORY.

I LEARNED ABOUT THE CAMPS IN

2015 AND INCORPORATED IT INTO MY

FIRST FICTIONAL NOVEL, BUT I

ALWAYS KNEW I WANTED TO COME

BACK TO IT.

I CAME BACK TO IT TO FIND A VERY

TROUBLING HISTORY.

>> I MENTIONED MORE THAN 100,

BUT GIVE US A SENSE OF THE SCOPE

OF THIS SITUATION, THE NUMBER OF

THESE CAMPS, THE NUMBER OF

PEOPLE WHO LIVED AND WORKS IN

THESE CAMPS DURING THAT HALF

CENTURY.

>> INITIALLY THE FIRST CAMP WAS

OPENED IN A SMALL HAMLET.

THERE WERE FOUR CAMPS AT THE

TIME.

THEY WERE U.S. GOVERNMENT

SPONSORED CAMPS.

BY 1951 THERE WERE 28 REGISTERED

LABOR CAMPS.

BY 1958, IT BALLOONED TO 134

REGISTERED CAMPS IN THE COUNTY.

THIS IS JUST SUFFOLK COUNTY.

THERE WERE LIKELY MANY

UNREGISTERED CAMPS AS WELL.

>> I SUSPECT PEOPLE MIGHT SAY,

WHY WAS THERE SUCH A NEED FOR

LABOR CAMPS IN THAT AREA OF LONG

ISLAN

ISLAND.

TELL ME THE HISTORY OF WHAT WAS

GOING ON THERE IN TERMS OF

FARMING THAT LENT ITSELF TO THIS

NEED, THIS EXTRAORDINARY NEED

FOR LABOR.

>> SURE.

THOSE FAMILIAR WITH THE AREA NOW

RECOGNIZE THE VINEYARDS.

BEAUTIFUL COUNTRYSIDE.

PRIOR TO THAT, IT WAS A LOT OF

MOSTLY POTATO FARMING AND

CAULIFLOWER, STRING BEANS AND

OHR

OTHER FOODS.

EASTERN EUROPEANS BROUGHT THE

SKILLS OF GROWING THOSE CROPS

AND IT TOOK OFF FROM THERE.

>> AROUND 1950 OR SO, HOW MUCH

POTATO FARMING WAS TAKING PLACE

IN THAT AREA?

>> BY 1949 THE COUNTY PRODUCED

BETWEEN 14 MILLION AND 18

MILLION BUSH ELS OF POTATOES.

AT ONE POINT IT WAS NUMBER ONE

IN THE NATION IN PRODUCING

POTATOES.

AN ALARMING AMOUNT FOR SUCH A

SMALL GEOGRAPHICAL AREA.

>> YOU TALK IN YOUR BOOK ABOUT

THE IMPACT OF WORLD WAR II ON

THE LABOR SHORTAGE.

DESCRIBE THAT FOR US.

>> WELL, SUFFOLK COUNTY

SPECIFICALLY HAD A SHORTAGE OF

APPROXIMATELY 2700 FARM

LABORERS.

THE COUNTY AND AGRICULTURE BOARD

TRIED EVERYTHING THEY COULD.

THEY HAD GERMAN POWs, BOY

SCOUTS, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS,

CHINESE-AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS FROM

NEW YORK CITY.

ALL OF IT WAS A BANDAID BECAUSE

THEY COULDN'T FIND A FIX.

>> GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR, I

DIDN'T REMEMBER THAT THERE WAS A

PRISONER OF WAR CAMP AROUND AND

THE FACT THAT THEY ACTUALLY WERE

UTILIZING THEM TO DO SOME OF

THIS WORK.

>> THEY WERE PAID FOR FAIR WAGE

OF THE TIME, 55 CENTS OR 60

CENTS PER HOUR.

BUT I'M SURE IT WASN'T OPTIMAL

CONDITIONS.

THE RECORDS ARE NOT CLEAR

WHETHER THESE WORKERS HAD A

CHOICE.

THEY WERE CERTAINLY COMPENSATED

FOR WORKING THERE.

>> I MENTIONED HOW THIS STORY IS

SO LITTLE KNOWN.

I THINK IT TIES INTO MY NEXT

QUESTION, WHICH IS WAS THERE A

LOT OF AVAILABLE RESEARCH FOR

YOU TO TRY TO DISCOVER THE

CONTOURS OF THIS STORY?

>> THERE WERE NO PRIMARY

SOURCES.

THAT REALLY WAS DISTRESSING.

NOTHING ON THIS TOPIC.

I HAD TO RELY HEAVILY UPON

JOURNALISM.

I REVIEWED OVER 300 NEWSPAPER

ARTICLES, DOCUMENTARIES AS WELL

AS INTERVIEWS FROM LOCAL PEOPLE

AND LOVED ONES FAMILIAR WITH THE

SYSTEM.

THAT REALLY FORMED OUT MY

RESEARCH ALONG WITH AN

INFORMATION REQUEST WITH THE

SUFFOLK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF

HEALTH, WHICH YIELDED 1,000

PAGES OF DOCUMENTS.

>> WE TALKED ABOUT THE BAND-AID

APPROACH THAT WAS BEING USED,

PRISONERS OF WAR, HIGH SCHOOL

STUDENTS, BOY SCOUTS.

TALK ABOUT THE BURST NOW IN THE

EVOLUTION OF THESE LABOR CAMPS.

>> NEW YORK STATE RECOGNIZED THE

NEED TO ACCOMMODATE THE

THOUSANDS OF LABORERS EXPECTED

TO ENTER EACH YEAR.

THERE WAS ONE COUNTY IN UPSTATE

NEW YORK AND SUFFOLK COUNTY

DESIGNATED TO FIRST USE MOBILE

LABOR CAMPS.

THEY WERE DEFINED THAT BUT THEY

WERE HARDLY MOBILE.

THEY WERE FIXED.

THEY WERE SET IN THESE LOCATIONS

AND THEY ALL GENERALLY REPORTED

TERRIBLE CONDITIONS.

>> TALK ABOUT THOSE CONDITIONS.

THERE ARE PHOTOS IN YOUR BOOK

THAT SHOWS SOME OF THE

CIRCUMSTANCES, SOME OF WHAT'S

LEFT OF THESE AREAS.

DESCRIBE FOR US THE NOTION OF

WHAT THESE CAMPS LOOKED LIKE,

WHAT THEY FELT LIKE, WHAT THE

WORKING CONDITIONS WERE FOR THE

LABORERS.

>> SURE.

REALIZING THERE ARE NO CAMPS

SAVE MAYBE ONE OR TWO REMAINING

STRUCTURES, I WANTED TO PAINT

THE PICTURE WHAT THESE CAMPS

WERE LIKE NOT ONLY IN PHYSICAL

APPEARANCE BUT THE EFFECTS ON

THE WORKERS.

THEY WERE ALWAYS RUN DOWN,

ISOLATED CONDITIONS, NO

TELEPHONES, LITTLE RECREATION,

YOU KNOW, DRIVEN BY CREW LEADERS

OR CAMP OPERATORS WHO WERE

HARD-NOSED CHARACTERS WHO ALWAYS

WERE PUNITIVE AND EXPLOITING THE

WORKERS.

THE CAMPS WERE DANGEROUS.

IT NATURALLY LED TO HAZARDOUS

CONDITIONS, CRIME AND VIOLENCE

AND ULTIMATELY MANY DEATHS.

>> TELL ME IF I'M WRONG ABOUT

THIS, BUT LOOKING AT WHAT WE

MENTIONED, THE USE OF GERMAN

PRISONERS OF WAR, WHO AS YOU

SAID WERE PAID SOME SORT OF A

WAGE, FAIR PERHAPS FOR THE TIME,

BUT COMPARING THAT TO THESE

MIGRANT WORKERS AND WHAT THEY

WERE PAID.

TALK ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT.

>> YEAH.

THE THING WAS MANY OF THEM WERE

LURED BY FALSE PROMISES OR IN

SOME CASES TAKEN BY FORCE, A

TERM KNOWN AS SHANGHAIED.

THEY WERE TOLD THEY WERE GOING

TO EARN A CERTAIN AMOUNT PER

WEEK.

PAYDAY WAS SATURDAY NIGHT.

EVERY TIME THEY GOT THEIR MONEY,

IT WAS FAR LESS THAN WHAT IT

WAS.

EVERYTHING WAS DEDUCTED FROM THE

PAY FOR THE WORKERS, TRAVEL

EXPENSES, RENT OF STAYING AT THE

CAMPS, FOOD, DRINK AND ALWAYS AT

HIGH MARKUPS AND TYPICALLY

CHARGED ON CREDIT, WHICH WAS

EVEN HIGHER MARKUPS.

A BOTTLE OF TWISTER WINE COST 61

CENTS AT THE STORE.

AT THE CAMP IT WOULD BE $1 CASH

OR $1.25 ON CREDIT.

THAT WAS THE KIND OF RUTHLESS

EXPLOITATION THAT LED THE

WORKERS TO A CYCLE OF PERPETUAL

DEBT.

>> TALK ABOUT THE WEEKLY WAKE OF

BEING $47.

FROM THAT WAS DEDUCTED MORE THAN

$40 FOR PAYING TO GO BACK AND

FORTH TO YOUR JOB, PAYING FOR

YOUR ROOM AND BOARD, IF YOU

WILL.

WAS THAT FAIRLY REPRESENTATIVE

OF THE SITUATION?

>> YES.

IN FACT, THERE WAS ONE WOMAN WHO

COMPLAINED IN RIVERHEAD THAT

SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES WERE TAKEN

FROM HER CHECK AND SHE DID NOT

HAVE A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR

CARD.

MANY FEES WERE HIDDEN.

YOU KNOW, LOOSE FEES AND

DEPENDING ON THE CAMP OPERATOR,

THEY JUST KIND OF MOVED AS THEY

WENT ALONG AT THEIR WILL AND THE

WORKERS HAD LITTLE CHOICE TO

OBJECT.

>> YOU SAY LITTLE CHOICE TO

OBJECT.

WERE THERE ANY PROTECTIONS IN

PLACE FOR WORKERS?

WE KNOW ABOUT THE NATIONAL LABOR

RELATIONS ACT IN THE '30s.

PEOPLE SAY THAT DID PROVIDE

PROTECTION FOR SOME WORKERS.

WHAT ABOUT THESE MIGRANT

WORKERS?

>> SADLY, THESE WORKERS BOTH

THEN AND NOW ARE SPECIFICALLY

EXCLUDED FROM THE NATIONAL LABOR

RELATIONS ACT.

THEY HAD TO RELY ON STATE LABOR

LAWS.

NEW YORK DID NOT EXACT ONE UNTIL

2019.

IT WAS REALLY AT THE WHIM OF THE

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, THE

OVERSEEING BODY FOR WAGES, THE

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SUFFOLK

COUNTY WHICH IS THE OVERSEEING

GOVERNMENT AGENCY OF THE

CONDITIONS AT THE CAMPS, BUT

THEY WERE SPREAD FAR AND THIN.

CAMP LEADERS KNEW THEY WERE

COMING AND WOULD CLEAN UP THE

CAMP UNTIL INSPECTION WAS

COMPLETED AND THEN IT WOULD

ALWAYS FALL BACK INTO DISREPAIR

AND REMAIN THAT WAY.

>> THESE WORKERS WERE LEFT TO

THE WHIMS OF THE PEOPLE RUNNING

THESE CAMPS?

>> YES.

PRIOR TO 1965 IF THEY WERE

INJURED -- THERE WAS MANY CASES

OF A LOST LIMB OR FINGER OR TOE.

THEY WERE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR

WORKERS' COMPENSATION.

THEY WOULD HAVE TO SUE IN COURT

BECAUSE THEY WERE OUT OF STATE

CITIZENS.

THAT WAS NOT FEASIBLE OR LIKELY

TO HAPPEN.

IT WAS ALWAYS A STRUGGLE.

THERE WERE SOME AGENCIES AND

NONPROFIT GROUPS THAT HELPED

LONG ISLAND VOLUNTEERS WAS

FOUNDED BY MARY CHASE STONE, A

WEALTHY WOMAN FROM NEW ENGLAND.

SHE FORMED A NONPROFIT TO HELP

CHALLENGE THESE EXAMPLES OF

CONSTANT ABUSE AND THEFT OF

WAGES AT LOCAL AGENCIES

INCLUDING THE DEPARTMENT OF

LA

LABOR.

OVERWHELMINGLY IT WAS A VICIOUS

CYCLE OF EXPLOITATION THAT WENT

UNCHECKED.

>> THERE'S A QUOTE IN THE BOOK.

I'M WONDERING IF THIS SEEMS TO

CAPTURE THE PERVERSITY OF THIS

SYSTEM AND THE BRUTALITY OF THE

SYSTEM.

SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT OF, WE

USED TO OWN SLAVES, NOW WE RENT

THEM HERE.

>> THAT CAME FROM THE 1960

DOC

DOCUMENTARY "HARVEST OF SHAME."

EDWARD R MURROW PRODUCED THAT.

THAT DID TALK ABOUT ONE OF THE

NEW YORK CAMPS.

IT WAS QUOTED FROM A FLORIDA

FARMER IN THAT FILM REALLY ON

ALL THE CONDITIONS OF THE

MIGRANTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

>> ARE THERE REMNANTS?

AGAIN, THERE ARE A LOT OF

COMPELLING PHOTOS IN THE BOOK.

ARE THERE STILL REMNANTS ABOUT

OF THESE CAMPS?

IF NOT, WHAT'S THE PROPER USE

FOR THEM?

>> THE PROPERTY RATES IN LONG

ISLAND ARE SO GREAT THAT IT WAS

EXPECTED THAT MOST OF THESE

STRUCTURES ARE ALL GONE.

THERE IS ONE IN RIVERHEAD, A

ONE-STORY BRICK CINDERBLOCK

BUILDING.

THERE'S AN OLD BARN ON SHELTER

ISLAND THAT WAS ONCE USED AS A

CAMP.

OTHER THAN THAT THEY'RE GONE.

THAT WAS PART OF THE IMPORTANCE

OF TELLING THE STORY.

IF WE'RE NOT SHARING THIS

HISTORY, WE WOULD NEVER KNOW IT

EXISTED.

>> SOMEBODY WHO HAS LIVED THERE

ALL YOUR LIFE AND YOU DIDN'T

KNOW THESE STORIES HERE.

THE BOOK IS CALLED "LONG ISLAND

MIGRANT LABOR CAMPS, DUST FOR

BLOOD."

MARK TORRES IS THE AUTHOR.

IT'S A COMPELLING STORY WHERE

PEOPLE IN THE END WILL SAY, I

NEVER KNEW THAT.

IT'S A STORY THAT NEEDS TO BE

TOLD.

MARK, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

JOINING US.

GOOD LUCK WITH THE BOOK.

YOU BE WELL.

>> THANK YOU.

>>> SO BEAUTIFUL AND SO

INSPIRING.

I MEAN, YOU TOOK ME TO HEAVEN

FOR A LITTLE SECOND THERE.

>> I'M GOING FORWARD INTO MY

EVENING WITH A BIG SMILE ON MY

FACE.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>>> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

I'M JACK FORD.

WE ARE TOLD THAT MUSIC HAS THE

POWER TO HEAL THE SOUL.

WELL, THERE'S A GROUP RIGHT HERE

IN NEW YORK THAT IS TRYING TO DO

JUST THAT.

CONCERTS IN MOTION, NONPROFIT

ORGANIZATION THAT WE JUST SAW IN

ACTION, AS A MATTER OF FACT,

WORKS TO BRING LIVE MUSIC TO

SOCIALLY ISOLATED INDIVIDUALS

THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY, LONG

ISLAND AND WESTCHESTER.

WHILE THEY USED TO DO THEIR

CONCERTS LIVE AND IN PERSON,

CONCERTS IN MOTION HAS ADAPTED,

AS WE ALL HAVE OVER THE COURSE

OF THE PANDEMIC.

THEY ARE NOW ABLE TO OPERATE

VIRTUALLY TO PROVIDE THEIR GIFT

OF MUSIC TO SO MANY.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE THE

FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

OF CONCERTS IN MOTION, JENNIFER

FINN.

WELCOME.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, MORE

THAN A DECADE AGO, YOU TOOK YOUR

PROFESSIONAL MUSIC BACKGROUND

AND CREATED THIS ORGANIZATION.

HOW AND WHY DID THAT HAPPEN?

>> WELL, AT THE TIME I WAS

SINGING PROFESSIONALLY AS AN

OPERA SINGER.

A LOT OF MY REPERTOIRE IS

EXTREMELY TECHNICALLY

CHALLENGING ESPECIALLY FROM

LEARNING A NEW ROLE.

WHAT I USED TO DO IS WE WILL

PERFORM FOR AN AUDIENCE BEFORE

WE GO IN FRONT OF A NEW

CONDUCTOR.

AT THAT TIME I WAS SINGING IN

VARIOUS NURSING HOMES AND

HOSPITALS.

I WOULD GO IN AND SAY I'M ABOUT

TO GO TO GERMANY, I'M GOING TO

SING THIS ROLE AND I NEED TO

SING IT FOR AN AUDIENCE.

THEY WOULD GIVE ME THEIR

FEEDBACK.

THE THING THAT REALLY STRUCK ME

IS HOW MUCH THEY NEEDED TO TALK

AND HOW MANY MEMORIES, EVEN THE

MOST ESTOTERIC OPERA, SOME OF

THEM HAD GONE TO OPERA AS YOUNG

PEOPLE.

THE MOST STRIKING PART OF IT WAS

HOW MUCH JOY I FELT AFTER.

I JUST KEPT THINKING HOW DO OH I

GET TO DO THIS?

I WAS ALSO TEACHING MUSIC

PRIVATELY.

I ASKED MY STUDENTS IF INSTEAD

OF THAT SCARY SPRING CONCERT WE

USUALLY DO FOR THE PARENTS, IF

THEY WOULD BE WILLING TO DO THIS

AT A NURSING HOME AND INVITE

THEIR PARENTS TO ATTEND.

THEY ALL AGREED.

I CALLED THEM AFTER AND THAT

THEY ALL ENJOYED IT TOO.

THEY HAD THE SAME RESPONSE I

DID.

SO THAT'S KIND OF HOW WE BEGAN.

>> GIVE ME A SENSE OF THE TYPES

OF LOCATIONS AND THE GROUPS AND

THE PLACES THAT YOU BRING

CONCERTS IN MOTION TO.

>> SURE.

SO WE HAVE FIVE DIFFERENT

PROGRAMS RUNNING PREPANDEMIC.

THE FIRST IS CALLED THE MUSIC

FOR THE HOME BOUND PROGRAM,

WHICH MEANS WE WERE SENDING

MUSICIANS AND STUDENTS INTO THE

PRIVATE APARTMENTS OF NEW YORK

CITY RESIDENTS WHO ARE TOO FRAIL

TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES.

IN SOME CASES WE WERE THE ONLY

PERSON THEY SAW THAT WEEK

OUTSIDE OF THEIR CAREGIVER.

THAT PROGRAM WAS REALLY OUR

FIRST PROGRAM AND OUR FIRST

AGENCY PARTNER FOR THAT PROGRAM

IS THE MT. SINAI VISITING

DOCTORS PROGRAM.

SO THAT'S KIND OF A TEAM OF

PHYSICIANS WHO ARE TELLING US,

OKAY, THIS PATIENT WILL PROBABLY

BENEFIT FROM THIS.

SO WE WOULD SEND THE MUSICIAN IN

TO PERFORM WHATEVER MUSIC THAT

PATIENT REQUESTED.

AND THEN WE HAD OTHER PROGRAMS

IN GROUP SETTINGS.

A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE

THIS, BUT NEW YORK CITY IS AN

AGING CITY.

IN TEN YEARS THERE WILL BE MORE

OLDER ADULTS THAN SCHOOL AGED

CHILDREN.

WE'VE KIND OF HAD TO BE A LITTLE

BIT AHEAD OF THE GAME IN TERMS

OF HOW TO DEAL WITH AN AGING

POPULATION.

THE CITY HAS KIND OF DESIGNATED

A NATURALLY OCCURRING RETIREMENT

COMMUNITY, WHICH MEANS A CITY

BLOCK RADIUS WHERE ENOUGH PEOPLE

ARE AGING IN PLACE THAT THE CITY

DECIDES TO PUT SERVICES IN LIKE

A SENIOR CENTER, SOCIAL WORK,

VISITING NURSE.

THAT'S THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT

FOR THE AGING.

WE

DURING THE PANDEMIC WE SERVE ED

EVERY SINGLE SENIOR CENTER AND

THERE ARE OVER 300 OF THEM.

>> ONE OF THE ASPECTS OF THIS

PROGRAM IS THE COMPOSITION OF

THE PEOPLE WHO YOU BRING TO

VARIOUS VENUES HERE.

YOU HAVE MARVELOUSLY TALENTED

PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS AND YOU

HAVE STUDENTS AS YOUNG AS --

WHAT'S THE YOUNGEST THAT YOU

HAVE?

>> 6.

>> 6 YEARS OLD.

TELL ME ABOUT HOW THOSE TWO

GROUPS HAVE EVOLVED AND WHAT

THEY EACH PROVIDE TO THE

RECIPIENTS?

>> YOU CAN IMAGINE SCHOOL AGED

CHILDREN ARE IN SCHOOL A LOT OF

DAYS.

PREPANDEMIC WE WERE SERVING SO

MANY PEOPLE DURING THE DAY.

PEOPLE APPRECIATE REALLY GOOD

MUSIC, ESPECIALLY NEW YORKERS.

WE THOUGHT LET'S HAVE A PRO

SERIES.

WE CAN HAVE ANY KIND OF MUSIC.

WE CAN GO INTO THE APARTMENT

DURING A TIME LIKE LATE

MORNING/EARLY AFTERNOON.

THEN AFTER SCHOOL HOURS WE CAN

PROVIDE INTERGENERATIONAL

PROGRAMMING WITH STUDENT WHO IS

PLAY A VARIETY OF GENRES BECAUSE

THEY'RE JUST LEARNING.

THE FOCUS OF THE YOUTH PROGRAM

IS TO BE A NONJUDGMENTAL SAFE

SPACE FOR THEM TO TRY AND SHARE

THEIR MUSIC WHICH IS CRITICAL TO

LEARNING MUSIC.

YOU CAN'T JUST PRACTICE IN YOUR

LIVING ROOM.

YOU HAVE TO SHARE, YOU HAVE TO

TOUCH PEOPLE WITH YOUR MUSIC.

>> I KNOW YOU SAY TO THE

STUDENTS HERE THIS IS NOT A

SITUATION WHERE THEY CAN FAIL.

>> RIGHT.

WHY IS THAT SO VALUABLE TO THE

STUDENTS, DO YOU THINK?

>> WELL, I THINK ANYBODY WHO'S A

PARENT KNOWS THEIR CHILD IS

UNDER ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF STRESS

EVEN PRECOVID.

THEY'RE CONSTANTLY BEING JUDGED,

CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT

COLLEGE.

SO WE'RE REALLY KIND OF AN OASIS

FOR STUDENTS.

ALSO THEY'RE LEARNING FROM US

OTHER SKILLS BECAUSE THEY'RE

MEETING PEOPLE THEY WOULD HAVE

NEVER MET BEFORE.

THEY HAVE TO LISTEN FOR THEM.

THEY HAVE TO RECEIVE THEIR

FEEDBACK.

THE PARENTS TELL US THAT THEY

WATCH THEIR CHILDREN GROW UP

BEFORE THEIR EYES WHILE THEY'RE

INVOLVED WITH US.

>> WHAT A MARVELOUS OPPORTUNITY

TO SAY TO A CHILD YOU CAN'T

FAIL, ALL YOU CAN DO IS PROVIDE

JOY TO OTHER PEOPLE.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> ESPECIALLY FOR ASPIRING

MUSICIANS.

THEY ACTUALLY DID SOME TRAINING

WITH BOTH PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN.

TELL ME ABOUT THE TRAINING.

>> SO EVERYTHING IS ABOUT OUR

MISSION.

OUR MISSION IS TO ALLEVIATE

SOCIAL ISOLATION.

WHAT WE DO IS WE PROVIDE THE

PROFESSIONALS WITH TRAINING

THAT'S GOING TO HELP THEM TO

KIND OF PHYSICAL FILL OUR

MISSION AS BEST AS POSSIBLE.

WITH THE STUDENTS, WHEN THEY

REACH HIGH SCHOOL AGE, THEY CAN

TAKE A LEADERSHIP TRAINING WITH

US.

EVERYTHING IS FREE OF CHARGE.

A LOT OF THE ENTIRE PROGRAM IS

RUN BY A SOCIAL WORKER, WHO

WE'RE CONSTANTLY TRAINING THEM

IN THIS KIND OF UNDERSTANDING OF

LISTENING AND HOW IMPORTANT

LISTENING IS TO LEADING.

OUR ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO HELP

THEM BECOME EMOTIONALLY

INTELLIGENT LEADERS.

NOT ALL OF THEM ARE GOING TO GO

INTO MUSIC.

MAYBE A MINORITY WILL.

WE'RE HOPING THIS EXPERIENCE,

THEY CAN TAKE IT WITH THEM.

WE ALSO CREATED A GRAD PROGRAM

FOR OUR KIDS THAT HAVE SINCE

GRADUATED.

THAT GROUP IS GROWING.

IT'S REALLY ENCOURAGING TO SEE

WHAT A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR LIVES

THIS HAS MADE.

>> WE'RE TALKING WITH JENNIFER

FINN, THE FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE

DIRECTOR OF THE CONCERTS IN

MOTION ORGANIZATION.

TELL US HOW MANY GENRES OF MUSIC

AND LANGUAGES.

>> 16 GENRES OF MUSIC AND THEY

SPEAK 17 LANGUAGES.

RECENTLY WE HAVE STUDENTS NOW

SERVING THE CHINESE COMMUNITY IN

SPECIAL LANGUAGE CONCERTS.

WHAT WE'RE THINKING IS MAYBE

NEXT YEAR OUR YOUTH PROGRAM IS

GOING TO MIRROR THE PRO SERIES A

LITTLE BIT MORE WITH GENRE.

WE HAVE KIDS THAT PLAY

CLASSICAL, BROADWAY.

WE HAVE OLDER ADULTS WHO

APPRECIATE LOTS OF DIFFERENT

GENRES.

WE DID A CONCERT WHERE THE KIDS

WERE SPEAKING IN CHINESE TO THE

RECIPIENTS.

IT WAS REALLY MEANINGFUL.

>> I MENTIONED YOUR ORGANIZATION

HAD TO MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM

LIVE PERFORMANCES TO VIRTUAL

PERFORMANCES.

IT SEEMS THAT YOUR GROUP IS

PARTICULARLY WELL SITUATED TO

MAKE THAT TRANSFORMATION.

WHY?

>> BECAUSE OUR ENTIRE

ORGANIZATION FROM THE BEGINNING

OUR FIRST AGENCY PARTNER WAS

MOUNT SINAI VISITING DOCS.

WE HAVE STRONG RELATIONSHIPS

WITH THOSE SOCIAL WORKERS,

NURSES AND PHYSICIANS.

THEY TELL US WHO TO SERVE.

WHEN COVID HAPPENED AND

EVERYTHING LOCKED DOWN, WE WERE

VERY BUSY ON THE PHONE WITH ALL

OF THESE SOCIAL WORKERS.

WE USED ZOOM AS OUR TOOL FOR

VIRTUAL, BECAUSE WE SERVE LOW

INCOME OLDER ADULTS AS A FOCUS

AND MANY OF THEM DON'T HAVE

INTERNET ACCESS, SO ZOOM IS ONE

OF THE ONLY PLAT FFORMS THEY COD

CALL EVEN WITH A PREPAID PHONE.

OUR ENTIRE FOCUS WAS SERVING THE

POOR IN A PANDEMIC, TRYING TO

ALLEVIATE STRESS FOR THEIR

ESSENTIAL WORKER SO THEY COULD

ATTRACT THEIR COMMUNITY TO COME

TOGETHER AGAIN.

WE WERE ABLE TO NOT ONLY DO

MUSIC ONLINE BUT TO BUILD

COMMUNITY DURING A REALLY

DIFFICULT TIME.

>> YOU TALKED ABOUT THE VALUE TO

YOUR YOUNG STUDENTS.

WE KNOW THE VALUE TO THE

RECIPIENTS, THE JOY ON THEIR

FACES.

WHAT ABOUT PROFESSIONAL

MUSICIANS?

WHAT DO THEY GET OUT OF IT?

>> THEY TELL US WHEN THEY

PERFORM WITH US IT REMIND THEM

WHY THEY WENT INTO MUSIC.

WE PAY THEM.

THEY'RE OUR EMPLOYEES.

THEY TAKE TRAINING EVERY

QUARTER.

WE HAVE BREAKFAST FOR THEM TO

HELP SUPPORT THEM.

SOME OF THEY WM ARE GOING INTO Y

DIFFICULT SITUATIONS.

NOW THEY'VE BEEN EXPERIENCING

UNEMPLOYMENT, SO WE WERE REALLY

THEIR OWN EMPLOYER FOR THE LAST

YEAR ESSENTIALLY.

>> AS YOU MOVE FORWARD AND AS WE

EMERGE FROM THE DARKNESS AS

WE'RE SEEING THE LIGHT NOW HERE

AND AS YOU ALL PROVIDED LIGHT

DURING THE DARKNESS HERE, AS WE

EMERGE AND CONCERTS IN MOTION

MOVES FORWARD, WHAT ARE YOUR

HOPES FOR THE ORGANIZATION?

>> OUR HOPE IS THAT WE CAN KEEP

THE VIRTUAL PROGRAM AND GROW

INTO DOING MORE IN CENTRAL AND

WESTERN NEW YORK STATE AND THEN

ALSO HAVE IN-PERSON, BECAUSE

THERE ARE CLEARLY BENEFITS TO

IN-PERSON PROGRAMMING.

IT'S GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIT

EXPENSIVE BEING A HYBRID

PROGRAM, BECAUSE AT THE MOMENT

WE DO 15 CONCERTS A WEEK ONLINE.

AND WE WERE DOING 1500 CONCERTS

IN PERSON BEFORE THE AND BEGAN.

WE'RE TRYING TO PLAN IT OUT, BUT

WE REALLY FEEL LIKE WE COULD BE

DOING A LOT MORE FOR OUR MISSION

BY HAVING BOTH OPTIONS.

>> LAST QUESTION.

FOR VIEWERS WATCHING THIS

SAYING, WHAT A MARVELOUS

ORGANIZATION, I WONDER HOW I CAN

HELP, WHAT CAN THEY DO?

>> THEY CAN GO TO OUR WEBSITE

AND MAKE A DONATION.

IF THEY WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE

ABOUT US, WE CAN ALWAYS ADD THEM

TO THE MAILING LIST.

WE HAVE A LOVELY E NEWSLETTER

THAT GOES OUT ONCE A MONTH AND

GIVES IMPORTANT INFORMATION

ABOUT OUR WORK.

>> ABRAHAM LINCOLN ONCE TALKED

ABOUT LOOKING FOR THE BETTER

ANGELS FOR OUR NATURE, AND I

THINK YOU CAN FIND THEM IN

CONCERTS IN MOTION.

THANK YOU.

MARVELOUS WORK BY YOU AND YOUR

ORGANIZATION.

GOOD LUCK.

TAKE CARE.

>>"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

BY --

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN

GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE

AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND

BY --

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND

JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP

MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH

WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA

SOHN FOUNDATION.


FEATURED PROGRAMS