Last month, Kelly Hall-Tompkins of Local 802 (New York City) was recognized in the New York Times as one of New York Today’s New Yorkers of the Year. Last year, the violinist earned praise for her performance as the fiddler in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. But, she wasn’t recognized for that acclaimed solo performance. She was recognized for her monthly visits and performances of classical music in homeless shelters.
She first found herself performing at a shelter near Lincoln Center as she struggled to prepare for a solo performance following the death of a close friend in 2004. She felt she had reached her homeless audience of around 12 on a deeper level, affecting them more profoundly at a difficult time in their lives.
The following year she founded Music Kitchen—Food for the Soul, a program to lift the spirits of homeless people through live classical music performances. Since its inception, she has inspired around 200 other musicians to join her for performances in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Paris.