"I think that when you're fighting every day for the practical considerations of life -- just basic shelter and basic income and health and that kind of thing -- it's easier to be stretched to the very limits of our existence, she said. "And I think when you can bring the arts, when you can bring music and soothe people and inspire them to a different reality, if only temporarily, then I think it's really important to do."
Lewis agreed. "It's soothing. When you are going through some of the things that we're going through, living the life that we're living basically right now, we need something to just calm us."
In its fifth year, for its forty-second concert, Music Kitchen featured the Bach Vespers vocal soloists. Four men gathered in the church basement to eat dinner and listen.
And then something happened that surprised Hall-Tompkins. She asked if the men had any questions. One, sitting eating dinner, asked "Can I join you?" He jumped up and followed carefully along with the musicians as they sang a German cantata -- "Herr, Wenn Ich Dich Nur Habe" (Lord, if I Have Thee Only) by Johann Michael Bach.
Hall-Tompkins's foundation does have impact. "For people to come from outside and actually do that for us, it shows that at least someone cares," said Melvin Lewis.
Kelly Hall-Tompkins said she was gratified.
"I enjoy breaking down the barriers and just really reaching people through what I love most, which is music." she said.
For more information about The Music Kitchen, visit www.MusicKitchenNYC.org.
For more about its founder, visit www.KellyHall-Tompkins.com