A star-studded salute to those who serve!
Taking place over Memorial Day weekend, the Side By Side: A Celebration of Service brought together celebrities, military and health care heroes for an unforgettable benefit concert and television event in honor of all those who serve, and to raise money for Northwell Health’s Military Liaison Services Program.
Hosted by Alfonso Ribeiro and produced by First Tube Media, the May 31 livestreamed benefit included a special, in-person show for military and health care workers in New York City, which included performances by Katy Perry, NE-YO and Gavin DeGraw.
Prior to the livestream benefit concert, the Side By Side: A Celebration of Service television event, produced in partnership with Al Roker Entertainment, aired on NBC4 New York on May 27 and opened with a moving performance of “Rise Up” by Northwell Health Nurse Choir.
The program went on to share first-hand accounts of NYC’s resilience from heroes like Bernie Robinson who, after nearly dying this past year due to his work at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic, is back at it and better than ever. Those who tuned in also heard from Sandra Lindsay, the nurse who was the first person in America to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, Scott Strauss, a 9/11 first responder who helped save two Port Authority Officers buried under "the pile," and Michael Dowling, President & CEO of Northwell Health, who more than a decade ago created Northwell’s Office of Military and Veterans Liaison Services and spoke about its importance.
"Side By Side is our effort at Northwell to celebrate the service of so many people who give so much to the rest of us," said Dowling. "We are very fortunate and privileged to live in a free country and it is something that we can never take for granted. It is because of those people that put their lives in danger through their service that allows us to live the way we live, and we owe them an unbelievable debt of gratitude."
Scroll through the gallery below to see more photos from the star-studded tribute event.
Perry closed the livestream with a set of her powerful anthems – "Roar," "Firework," and "Resilient" – with a heartfelt dedication to all those who serve.
During the event, Perry also shared an intimate conversation with John Kelly, Care Coordinator at Northwell Health’s Military Liaison Services Program, and Sean Christensen, a fellow veteran who Kelly connected with through their shared experiences, and supported in his transition back to civilian life.
"I've learned from my new friends Sean Christensen and John Kelly that soldiers undergo resiliency training to ensure that they’re self-sufficient during combat," said Perry. "However, when they return home, it's often this very training that prevents them from seeking the help that they need. These two military veterans are now working with Northwell to ensure our heroes returning from combat understand that asking for help isn’t giving up, it's refusing to give up."
For her powerhouse performance, the 36-year-old wore a dramatic strapless red gown, styled with opera-length black leather gloves, drop pearl earrings and platinum blonde tresses.
Ne-Yo performed from the top of One World Observatory during the event.
"I am beyond honored to be a part of this event," said the "Closer" singer. "It's been twenty years since 9/11 and it just means so much to perform for first responders, veterans, and all those have served this great city in, in this building that is a symbol of resilience."
DeGraw played live from the rooftop at Lenox Health Greenwich Village in Manhattan.
"It really means a lot to me to be able to be a part of Side By Side," said the "Chariot" singer. "A lot of my family was in the military, so this hits close to home for me, it is my way of honoring them too. Being back in New York City to perform is really special as well, it feels really good to play live again."
PepsiCo, with its long history of supporting the military and our servicemen and servicewomen, was a proud sponsor of Side By Side: A Celebration of Service, whose livestream benefit concert in the company's backyard in New York City can be viewed in its entirety below.