Nightly sing-a-long brings Steamboat neighborhoods together (with video)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — At 6:54 p.m. on Friday, April 3, Telemark Court is mostly quiet. A pair of kids play in one of the driveways at the end of the street, but every other house is still and silent.
At 6:55 p.m., there’s movement. Three more families from around the street gather on the cul de sac. They stand in small groups a little more than 6 feet apart and start to sing. For the last week, this neighborhood, as well as a few others around Steamboat Springs, have been gathering at 7 p.m. to share a few minutes together and sing an uplifting song.
“I think it’s a way to connect during this time,” said Liz Wahl, founder of the Routt County Quarantine Sing-a-long group that orchestrates the nightly sing-a-longs. “It makes you feel good for a minute. …. Maybe not forget about things, but it’s a way to reach out and be all together doing something fun, which I think we need a bit of.”
On Friday, Telemark Court participants dressed up in sports gear, brought cracker jacks and baseball bats and sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
“It’s the highlight of the evening when everyone comes out and gets to sing together,” said Shannon Lukens, who helped Wahl set up a Facebook group to organize the effort.
While technically, there were more than 10 people on the street together, they all stayed 6 feet apart from each other, didn’t share contact with any props and retreated back to their homes after a few short minutes of merriment. Singing with your neighborhood, if done right, doesn’t break any public health rules.
The stay-at-home order, issued by Gov. Jared Polis on March 25, states, “Coloradans should take extreme steps to avoid contact with anybody outside their household and minimize contact in public places that could be contaminated with the COVID-19 virus.”
Wahl was inspired to start the Routt County quarantine sing-a-long by a video of people singing on their balconies in Italy. Many other videos she saw on the news and the internet similarly showed people semi-gathering to sing and share a few moments of joy with each other.
The group votes on songs a few days in advance, giving people time to learn the words, notes and get creative. Originally, it was up to each group to play the song, but now, KFMU plays the song each night shortly after 7 p.m.
Not everyone in Routt County lives in a neighborhood, such as the Leech family, who live north of town. That hasn’t stopped them from joining in on the musical fun, though. Rather than singing with neighbors, they have made short videos that they have posted on YouTube, meaning anyone with internet is part of their community.
Charles Leech and his parents, Beth and Charlie, are a little more musically inclined than most, so their videos have featured a trio of trombones, as well as some banjo strumming. Charles, who plays in a university pep band, said it’s a family tradition to play the trombone.
“It’s a good way to distract yourself or at least look on the bright side of things,” Charles said. “It’s very important to focus on that in these times where it’s just so surreal. It seems kind of grounding to me at least. Music has always been a way for me and my folks to relax a bit. It keeps us sane.”
Many of the people participating in the daily sing-a-long are separated from everyone else, so they’ve gotten in the habit of sharing their songs through videos on the Facebook page. It’s proof that even in isolation, communities can still do things together.
“I so look forward to it,” Wahl said. “It makes me so happy. I think it makes other people happy as well. Everybody needs that, and that’s why this is happening.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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Colorado updated its guidance for masks in schools Friday, suggesting school districts in the state should consider masks for the unvaccinated and, in areas of higher transmission like Routt County, masks for everyone.