Social Distance Singing Keeps Community Close At Heart
Watch as hundreds of neighbors and strangers come together (virtually) to join in song.
This story is part of a bi-weekly series that celebrates people who are reaching across a divide to "build bridges" with those different from themselves. The Sparkt Bridges series is made possible with the support of UPMC.
"I saw a meme that said 'when it's our turn to sing from the balconies, you all better be ready with Les Mis,'" said Amy Constantine Kline, resident of Dormont, PA, just south of Pittsburgh. "I thought that was hilarious."
Soon it was Dormont's turn - and they were ready, coming together to sing the (appropriately titled) song "Do You Hear the People Sing," from the popular musical Les Misérables, all while staying a safe distance away from each other.
They now call themselves the "CoronaChoir," a reference to the social distancing practices brought about by the coronavirus, and they are joining their (now over 700) voices in song once a week:
Each week, the choir runs a poll on their Facebook group to decide which songs they will sing. They've also recently added dancing to their repertoire as a bit of a warm-up, with their inaugural dance party set to "YMCA" by The Village People. Since these singers are all scattered across town (sometimes just one or two people to a block), they use the video conferencing app, Zoom, to keep everyone in sync.
Even the occasional dinosaur joins in the singing. Dormont CoronaChoir/Facebook
"It's kind of brought us all together as a neighborhood," says Amy. "People are coming outside and, no matter how long they've lived here... some of their neighbors, they've never met. So they're engaging with new people."
"What a crazy time to do that."
The Sparkt Bridges Project is produced with the generous support of UPMC. Life Changing Medicine.