America’s Got Talent season 16 began with a bang.

Judge Howie Almond used the first Golden Buzzer of the year during the season premiere on Tuesday, June 1, to honor the New York City Northwell Health Nurse Choir. The gathering of workers on the front lines resulted in an emotional mash-up of Bill Withers‘”Lean on me” and Ben E. King‘s “Stand by me.”

Winnie Mele, a 64-year-old health professional, told viewers on a taped section, “What makes this choir so special is that we are all frontline nurses. You know, we’re not professional singers. We take care of patients. “

The ensemble of 18 nurses then took the stage, and before they started singing, Winnie told the jury what they wanted to achieve during their time together.

“We know that it still hurts a lot of us out there,” she said. “And we hope that we will just radiate some joy and love and let them know that we have found our resilience, and we hope they do too.”