UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — The concert was called Love in Action. The New York Choral Society sang to honor and welcome first responders and frontline workers and to express gratitude and hope. It was the New York Choral Society’s first concert in 24 months.

“It wasn’t a matter of when, it was always a matter of how,” said Patrick Owens, the executive director of the New York Choral Society. “How to express gratitude to all the people who served the city so well.”

One Choral Society member put it so succinctly. “This is a moment that is so powerful and meaningful to all of us singers that we were able to bring what we do best to an audience,” singer Rosanne Zoccoli said.

Among the masked audience were more than 30 first responders, including chef Grace Ramirez who served more than 100,000 meals to frontline workers during the pandemic and Alaina Smalley, a Lenox Hill nurse navigator who worked in the Covid ICU at Phelps Memorial.

“Music, just like food, is a love language. It gives you hope,” Ramirez said. “I feel honored that we are being honored for what we did for the community.”

Smalley added, “Music personally brings me a lot of peace and inspiration, but I think it can also provide a healing moment as a force for good.”

This concert of healing at the Society for Ethical Culture brought together the work of eight contemporary American composers exploring themes of resilience, action and love.

“Our members are showing signs of PTSD,” said Oren Barzilay, the president of the EMT and Paramedics Union of the FDNY. “The work is very difficult and many struggle for their mental health. This is a great way of thanking us for the work of our men and women.”