Eastern Michigan University nursing student sings “Amazing Grace” at inauguration ceremonies

Lori Marie Key performs "Amazing Grace" at the COVID-19 memorial in Washington, D.C.
(Credit: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty)

YPSILANTI – Her powerful voice inspired and comforted millions during a historic moment this month.

An Eastern Michigan University nursing student who last year went viral and sang “Amazing Grace” on “Good Morning America” sang to an even larger audience in an even more dramatic setting on Jan. 19.

Lori Marie Key, a registered nurse at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia and a student in Eastern’s RN to BSN online program, performed during the COVID-19 memorial held in Washington D.C. by the Lincoln Memorial, bringing light to a riveted nationwide TV audience as part of the inauguration events of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

“It’s an honor to be here with you, and with President elect Biden,” Key said as she prepared to sing in front of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, which was framed by 400 glowing lights signifying the 400,000 American deaths from COVID.

“Working as a COVID nurse was heartbreaking,” Key added. “It’s heartbreaking for the patients who are sick, it’s heartbreaking for the families who couldn’t be there with them, and it was heartbreaking for those caring for them. But when I am at work, I sing. It gives me strength during difficult times and helps heal. So here is Amazing Grace.”

Naturally, congratulations flooded into Key’s social media and phone.

“Thank you so much everyone!!” she wrote on Facebook after her performance. “I appreciate all this love that's flooding through my phone. I am humbled like fa real. God is good and I'm praying for healing physically and spiritually in 2021!”

Key first gained attention in April of 2020 when a video of her singing “Amazing Grace” during a shift change began making waves on the internet. It led to an appearance on ABC’s morning show, where she was interviewed by one of the show’s hosts, Robin Roberts.

Key has been offering bedside prayer and personal songs to COVID-19 patients that request it to try and bring them some comfort. St. Mary Mercy Livonia, a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, provides comprehensive care to the Wayne County community. 

The EMU RN to BSN online program gives students clinical reasoning and leadership skills to help them thrive in the evolving health care sector. With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing - prepared Registered Nurses are in high demand. In the program, current nurses can expand their leadership and advocacy skills, learn how to apply evidence-based research, and gain a foundation for systems-thinking and quality improvement processes in the profession.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

January 27, 2021

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Media Contact:
Geoff Larcom