In the first week of full-fledged social distancing, Bostonians took a note from the Italians.
Viral videos of people in Italy singing together from their balconies have swept the internet. A few internet users made one of the popular clips into deep fakes by superimposing songs like Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Madonna’s “I Rise” over the visuals. (And celebrities fell for it, too. Both singers retweeted the fabricated videos.)
Several locals have drawn inspiration from the European musical effort. The lastest is Boston resident Mike DiCarlo, who began singing from his window over the weekend.
In a Facebook video that had been shared hundreds of times by midweek last week, DiCarlo sings a coronavirus-inspired parody of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
“Hands, not touching hands,” he sings. “Not reaching out. Not touching me. Not touching yoooooooouuuuuu.”
Soon, a few other neighbors, leaning out nearby windows, join in. Amid the red brick buildings and blossoming trees, it’s a picturesque view of the quarantine.
Every night at 6. Join the party! Tell your friends!Posted by Mike DiCarlo on Sunday, March 15, 2020
At the end of the song, DiCarlo pumps his fist and shouts, “We’ll get through this coronavirus thing!”
According to his Facebook page, DiCarlo delights his neighbors with his singing every day at 6 p.m.
The popular social media site, Secret Boston, has been promoting a citywide sing-along every night at 7 p.m. Followers choose the song every day through polls on Secret Boston’s Instagram stories, and the winner is announced each day at 5 p.m.
On St. Patrick’s Day, the page urged audiences confined to their homes to rock out to Dropkick Murphys’ “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” (The Dropkicks themselves live streamed their concert that day as well.)
Perhaps the biggest local sing-along involved residents in the Woodburne section of Jamaica Plain who had been coming out onto the streets for a daily 6 p.m. sing-along since Sunday. So far, they’ve sung The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” and a traditional Irish ballad.
On Wednesday, the neighbors announced that out of the growing need for social distancing and safety, they would be moving to an “online sing-in-place.” They will be putting a suggested daily song on the JP Green House website — “I Will Survive,” “Stayin’ Alive,” and “Puff the Magic Dragon” are coming up — for people looking to call others and sing together.
“Let’s use this as a way to connect and check in every day with your nearby neighbors," organizers wrote on the JP Green House site. "You can use FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Live, or even an ordinary phone call. You can of course also include friends and family who are further away. Please self-organize with your neighbors to do this.
“We will continue to post the song of the day each day, and maintain the list of suggested songs, available to all here. Please encourage your immediate community to continue singing The 6pm SING IN PLACE, but again inside our own homes. We need each other and we need connectedness to maintain hope in these difficult days ahead.”
Diti Kohli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ditikohli_.