We believe that everyone is a songwriter and every person has a story to tell. We connect students with community members to write original, personalized songs together. Join us and let’s connect, empower, heal through music!
In 2012, a group of students at Princeton started the Genuine Medicine program with Genuine Voices, a music education nonprofit in Boston. The program paired teens in detention with pediatric patients to write songs.
They worked with “T”, a 16-year-old boy in juvenile detention, who wrote a song with Alexa, a 9-year-old girl with brain cancer. After the program, T said, “I feel this song made me want to help everyone and everything I can.” Alexa said, “This [song] will be my new Hospital Song to help me be strong while I fight my brain cancer.”
Stories like T’s and Alexa’s – connections formed through collaborative songwriting – serve as the basis for our activities today. In 2017, we took the step to establish Humans in Harmony as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so that more people can experience these musical connections.
Here is another story from one our workshops, where Kelsea, a nursing student, writes a song honoring the story of a child in foster care:
Stanley Katz, Director, Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at Princeton University
Ashwin Vasan, Executive Director, Health Access Equity Unit at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Erica Cao, President
Erica believes that the arts, humanities, and sciences intersect to make the world a better place. In 2011 she developed a songwriting program at Genuine Voices, a nonprofit which taught music to at-risk youth. She received her bachelor’s in Psychology with a Certificate in Music Performance from Princeton, a Masters in Music from Cambridge University, and attended medical school at Columbia University in 2014-16. Erica is a pianist and enjoys literature and creative writing.
Elizabeth Butterworth, Director of Development
Liz is a classicist and educator with a passion for music, theater, and arts education. In 2009 she founded Afternoon Tunes, an initiative in Worcester, MA, through which young musicians teach free music lessons to kids from the city. Liz received her bachelor’s in Classics from Princeton and then spent two years at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, where she received an MSc in Comparative and International Education, with a thesis on elementary school music education, and MSt in Latin and Greek Languages and Literature. In her free time, Liz enjoys reading novels and watching the Muppets.
Jennifer Chew, Director of Communications
Jen is an avid dancer, pianist, and enthusiast for the performing arts. She established CityStep Princeton in 2013, an initiative which brings performing arts programs to public schools. Jen has experience managing digital and print communications with early-stage startups, and has executed marketing campaigns for a tech start-up and fashion design start-up. She received her bachelor’s in History and a Certificate in East Asian Studies from Princeton, where her thesis research analyzed how African American music conservatory graduates shaped national music identity. Her hobbies include cooking, running, and hiking.
Gideon McFarland, Program Director
Gideon is an undergraduate student at Princeton University majoring in Astrophysics. In Summer of 2019, he joined Humans in Harmony through Princeton Internships in Civic Service, where he directed the Summer 2019 Music Corps program and launch of the HiH student network. He’s a bass in Princeton’s Old Nassoul A Capella Group, and is curious about exploring music in its many forms—whether by self-learning piano, practicing space music, or arranging music.
Lucy Cao, Cory Chang, Kelseanne Breder, Alex Vu, Emilee Tu, Meghan Saletta
Columbia University Medical Center chapter leaders: Ali Breneman, Mia Nishikawa, Shirin Dey, Viemma Nwigwe
Einstein School of Medicine chapter leaders: Emilee Tu, Sarah Ciccarelli, Erin Jo, Avi Malaviya, Beth Yan
Princeton University chapter leaders: Gideon McFarland, Ann Dockery
New York University chapter leader: Jacqueline Yoon
Manhattan School of Music chapter leader: David Zheng
PO Box #250818, New York, NY 10025