Yesterday afternoon I got an invitation to a public Facebook group from a friend in California. It seemed totally bizarre and out of the blue but I have nothing better to do these days so I checked it out. The public group “Quarantine Sing-A-Long” had about 3,000 members at the time but I loved the idea.
Like a lot of us, Ilana Minkoff was inspired by the videos of Italians singing on their balcony, so she decided to see if there was interest in the United States. It turns out there was a lot of interest. As I write this the group has 15,938 members. In an ironic twist, Minkoff seems to have stumbled on something that can spread faster than the coronavirus — a daily moment of solidarity and hope.
The way the group works is simple — every day there is a poll with a popular song. The only requirement is that it has to be something most people know. Members of the group vote and the poll is closed at 3 p.m. Pacific Time. At 7 p.m. Pacific Time members open their windows, walk outside, or, in the case of me and my friends, host a cross-country conference call on Zoom and sing:
Please remember, we have a very wide street on which to spread out. My preference is *always* that you sing from your windows, porches and roofs (if flat like mine). I am allowed to go out and walk my dog, which is timed precisely, and not coincidentally, at the time this happens. Note my 20+ foot distance from others. Please be smart, be safe, and as you agreed to do when joining this group, follow the laws as set by the government in your area. Many thanksPosted by ILana Minkoff on Thursday, March 19, 2020
It brought a huge smile to my face that the Quarantine Sing-A-Long kicked off with “Sweet Caroline,” a well-known baseball-connected song that is played in the eighth inning of every Boston Red Sox game. You can read more about how the tradition of playing “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway began in this 2005 piece from NPR.
The six of us singing last night were not at Fenway and have no hope of getting there in the foreseeable future. But for a few minutes in our apartments in Chicago, San Jose, Boston and Norfolk, Virginia, we raised a glass to each other and joined a few thousand people for an impromptu sing-a-long of an American classic.
The voting is open now for today’s sing-a-long. Gloria Gaynor’s classic “I Will Survive” is currently the runaway favorite.